The Department of Justice has filed suit to stop the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers or sales, or however you want to define them. Next stop for the four firms is court.
After learning of the DOJ decision, Aetna issued a statement that it will vigorously defend the $37 million merger and noted the department is wrong that the merger will significantly reduce competition. “A combined company will result in a broader choice of products, access to higher quality and more affordable care, and a better overall experience for consumers,” Aetna said and its CEO Mark Bertolini said, “I like my chances in front of a judge.”
In its response to the court, Aetna told U.S. District Judge JohnBates that 91% of Medicare Advantage participants have five carriers to choose from. And the broader Medicare market is still dominated by the government’s program.
Anthem says its $48 billion merger with Humana will create what it calls “efficiencies.” They will give better, more affordable products to consumers. Company CEO Joseph Swedish said, “The acquisition of Cigna will significantly increase consumers’ access to the exchanges with the combined firm entering into new territories in nine states where the two firms are not currently participating.”
Swedish is also pushing for a quick trial and wants Judge Bates to schedule proceedings to begin in 88 days. He then proposes a decision being made with 35 days of the conclusion of the trial.
As expected, the Justice Department disagrees. “This case challenges the largest merger ever proposed in the health care industry,” the government said.
Source: Insurance Networking News, Insurance Business America