Aetna Inc. announced several acquisitions during the second quarter, and it’s continuing to shop.

Executives at Aetna, Hartford (NYSE:AET), mentioned their interest in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) recently during Aetna’s second-quarter earnings call.

Aetna has invested capital this year in a health information technology firm, a firm that sells low-cost administration services to self-insured group health plans, a personal benefits account administrator, and a medical discount card company in India.

Aetna is also out looking at U.S. health plans, according Aetna Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zubretsky.

“We have a very active pipeline and a dedicated team scouring various attractive geographies,” Zubretsky reported.

Many small regional plans are more interested in talking to Aetna now that they see how challenging dealing with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the PPACA minimum medical loss ratio requirements will be, Zubretsky said.

“So, those conversations are becoming a lot more frequent,” Zubretsky said. “Whether we’ll act on one or not, it’s hard to tell.”

In some cases, Aetna could buy a whole company, and, in other cases, it could simply buy blocks of business, Zubretsky said.

- Allison Bell

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