Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company has completed the sale of its health care business, Great-West Healthcare, to a subsidiary of CIGNA Corporation.

Great-West Life & Annuity received a gross consideration of $1.5 billion in cash and is retaining an estimated $750 million representing the amount of equity invested in the healthcare business at close.

Great-West Healthcare provides a variety of medical, dental, vision, life and disability coverage or other services to more than 4,000 employer groups and 1.9 million individuals across the US.

Raymond McFeetors, president and CEO of Great-West Lifeco, said: Great-West Lifeco has been pursuing a strategy to expand its financial services business in the US, and this transaction – along with our acquisition in 2007 of Putnam Investments – is a major strategic step forward.

Going forward in the US, Lifeco will focus on the financial services business, and in particular, asset accumulation, asset administration and fund management.