Thompson Health Care announced plans to buy out its parent company on Tuesday.
The plan is a first for the U.S. health care industry.
The move is a step toward a consolidation of health care providers in the United States, which has seen a rapid rise in the number of large health plans.
Thompson is the fourth-largest provider of health insurance in the country, with more than 1.6 million members.
Thompston CEO Steve Thompstein said the company plans to move more quickly than other companies because it is a bigger provider than most of its competitors.
Thampson’s deal with Cigna, which includes plans from several of the biggest U.K. insurance companies, includes plans that will cover an average of about 1.3 million people, the company said.
The deal is subject to approval by regulators in the U., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The merger will mean the biggest provider in Thompstone’s health care business will have to make some tough choices.
Thampson plans to spend up to $50 billion on acquisition activity in 2018 and 2019, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thumpson said the merger will allow it to better compete with its smaller competitors and to focus on delivering a more effective health care service to its customers.
The combined company will have a global footprint that will include all of Canada, the U, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom.