Aetna Inc. has agreed to pay about $600 million to acquire Prodigy Health Group Inc., a large administrator of self-funded health plans.

Prodigy, New York, runs plans with a total of about 600,000 medical members and 450,000 pharmacy plan members in 15 states. The company is owned by a holding company controlled by One Equity Partners L.L.C., New York, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase & Company, New York.

Prodigy operates under the names Meritain Health for third-party administrator (TPA) business, American Health for medical management business and Scrip World for pharmacy benefits management business.

Aetna, Hartford (NYSE:AET), says it will use available resources to finance the deal and hopes to get the regulatory approvals needed to complete the deal between June 30 and Dec. 31.

After the deal is completed, Prodigy will keep its current managers, operating structure and brands, Aetna says.

Aetna will use the deal to expand offerings of TPA services for larger employers, and to help Prodigy provide new options for small and midsize employers, Aetna Chairman Mark Bertolini says.

The deal also should help Aetna develop the customized networks it needs to support accountable care organization (ACO) programs, Aetna says.

- Allison Bell

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