SelectHealth has a very highly rated Medicare Advantage plan, and its insurance integrates well with its system, driving quality by paying fixed amounts to incentivize good care, Baumgarten said.

“There’s no question that there’s opportunity there,” Aberson said. “Intermountain has a maturity and sophistication around their health plan offering that I think is very complementary.”

Who’s affected by a merger?

Leadership for both Sanford and Intermountain stressed their similarities.

But all mergers come with the potential for improving by taking advantage of different things brought to the table, with the potential for efficiency and for both sides to learn from one another, Liljenquist said.

“There’s no reason to duplicate those types of investments, the more people they touch the more efficient you can be,” he said.

So how will Sioux Falls patients be affected by the deal?

For the short term at least, patients shouldn’t notice any significant changes.

There are no plans to for cuts or closures as a result of the merger—executives on both said that’s not what this merger is about.

“I’m doubting this is a merger driven by efficiencies and cuts, as much as its driven by using their insurance product or really driving business in the market,” Lupica said.