Consumer / Employer

Virgin Pulse, HealthComp To Merge Through $3B Deal

As a combined entity, Virgin Pulse and HealthComp will serve more than 1,000 self-insured employers and more than 20 million members. New Mountain Capital will be the majority owner.

Navigation company Virgin Pulse and benefits and analytics platform HealthComp announced Wednesday that they plan to merge to create an integrated platform for employer-sponsored benefits.

The $3 billion deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Providence, Rhode Island-based Virgin Pulse works with employers, health plans and health systems. It offers a navigation platform called Homebase for Health, which provides access to motivating challenges, lifestyle coaches and specialty partner programs. Fresno, California-based HealthComp works with employers, brokers and providers. It offers claim protection and integrity, clinical care management programs, customizable technology, a customer service model and data-driven reports.

Virgin Pulse is backed by Marlin Equity Partners, while HealthComp is backed by New Mountain Capital, according to a news release. New Mountain Capital will be the majority owner of the joined entity, which will serve more than 1,000 self-insured employers and more than 20 million members. The combined company will also be backed by Morgan Health and Blackstone.

Through the merger, plan design, plan management, payment integrity, health navigation, preventive care and digital therapeutic services will all be integrated into Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for Health platform.

“We’re combining health and wellbeing, navigation and advocacy [from Virgin Pulse], plus plan management and payment integrity [from HealthComp], and making it possible for a member to manage all of these capabilities through a single high-tech/high-touch experience. On top of this, it will all be powered by the industry’s most robust and predictive analytics and personalization engine,” declared Chris Michalak, CEO of Virgin Pulse, in an email. Michalak will serve as the CEO of the combined company.

Chad Harris, CEO of HealthComp, added that this type of service is needed as employers are battling increasing healthcare costs.

“As healthcare costs continue to rise, the need for an integrated experience in the employer-sponsored benefits ecosystem has become even more crucial, and together we can create a comprehensive healthcare experience with better outcomes and results,” Harris said in an email.

Michalak echoed Harris’ comment, noting that “employers are facing increasing cost pressures plus heightened demand from employees to provide whole-person support for preventative, episodic and chronic healthcare situations.” Indeed, employers’ healthcare costs are anticipated to increase by 8.5% in 2024 to more than $15,000 per employee, according to a recent Aon report.

The merger deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, pending regulatory approvals and “satisfaction of all closing conditions under the definitive agreement.”

Photo: mikdam, Getty Images