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U.S. regulators sue to block Anthem-Cigna, Aetna-Humana insurer mergers

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: July 21st, 2016 | 0 Comments


NEW YORK The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued to challenge two separate health insurance mergers, Anthem Inc’s (ANTM.N) purchase of Cigna Corp (CI.N) and Aetna Inc’s (AET.N) acquisition of Humana Inc (HUM.N).

In the suit against Anthem-Cigna, the antitrust regulators said the $45 billion combination would substantially lessen competition in an already consolidated industry, harming millions of Americans, doctors and hospitals.

Cigna said it was currently evaluating its options. It does not believe the transaction would close in 2016, and the earliest it would close would be in 2017, “if at all.”

Aetna and Humana said they plan “to vigorously defend the companies’ pending merger,” which is worth $33 billion.

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The Justice Department will hold an 11 a.m. news conference to announce significant antitrust news.

There are currently five national health insurers, and the deals would reduce that number to three. The health insurers have argued that the deals would help them lower prices for consumers by expanding their reach at a time when the nation is facing a constant price rise.

Antitrust regulators had been expected to file lawsuits aimed at blocking both deals by the end of next week, Reuters reported earlier this week.

Shares of Humana fell 0.5 percent in mid-morning trading. Cigna, Aetna and Anthem shares were all up slightly.

 

(Reporting by Caroline Humer and Diane Bartz in Washington DC, additional reporting by Jon Stempel and Carl O’Donnell in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/do20VL1JoKc/us-usa-healthcare-antitrust-idUSKCN1011VU

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