LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The word "optimistic" was said several times during a press conference Friday morning addressing the multi-billion dollar sale of Humana to Aetna.
But the final deal won't be signed, sealed and delivered until the second half of 2016 said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
While he has not received a guarantee for the number of jobs that would remain in Louisville Fischer said the fact that the headquarters for their Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare operations will remain here is a good sign.
Fischer understands the concern the 12,000 Humana employees may be feeling about their jobs, but said the jobs are not currently at risk.
"Keep working hard, keep being an industry leader and most importantly keep innovating. That is the key to all of our successes," Fischer said.
He hopes the sale will equal job growth.
The mayor did admit that the future is uncertain and that several legal hurdles need to be cleared for the deal to go through. He said the future of Humana would have been more uncertain had Aetna not decided to buy it. Fischer does not expect this sale to affect the decision of other companies to come to Louisville, or for the real estate market to be impacted.
Tom Noland, a Humana spokesman, told WAVE 3 News the sale will combine the strengths of both companies. Nolan also said that there is no agreement in writing yet as to the number of jobs that must remain in Louisville as part of the deal.
"No there is no guarantee," Noland said. But Tom Nolan says Aetna is promising to keep the headquarters for the combined company's Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare operations here.
"That's more than a 50 billion dollar in it of itself every year representing 14 million members so there's a lot to like," he said.
Larry Hayes, Kentucky's Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary, said the state and city are preparing for the possibility of offering tax incentives to Aetna in order to secure jobs and try to convince the company to move its headquarters to Louisville. Hayes would not say how much tax dollars the state is prepared to offer.
"That will be something that's negotiated by the mayor and the governor as it relates too the state and the city with the company," Hayes said.
The Mayor says he will work to try to lure Aetna's headquarters to town.
"My team along with the govorner's team will do everything possible to grow jobs in our city and compete for the headquarters as well," he told us.
Humana has added a questions and answers page about the aquisition on its website at https://www.humana.com/customer-support/