BREAKING: Justice Department to Challenge Anthem, Aetna Deals, Media Reports Say | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

BREAKING: Justice Department to Challenge Anthem, Aetna Deals, Media Reports Say

July 19, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

Antitrust officials at the U.S. Department of Justice may file lawsuits to block health insurer Anthem’s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna as well as Aetna’s pending $37 billion takeover of Humana, according to a Bloomberg article posted Tuesday.

The article, written by Bloomberg writers David McLaughlin and Sara Forden, cites “a person familiar with the matter,” as saying that the Justice Department could take action on the deals this week.

Matt Asensio, a Cigna spokesperson, declined to comment on the Justice Department review. Requests for comment from Anthem, Aetna and Humana representatives were not returned, as of press time.

As previously reported by Healthcare Informatics' Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland, in early July 2015, Hartford-based Aetna announced that it would acquire Louisville-based Humana for $37 billion in cash and stock, which was, at the time, the largest acquisition of its type in the history of health insurance in the United States.

As Healthcare Informatics' Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal reported a few weeks later, Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem struck a deal to acquire Bloomfield, Ct.-based Cigna for $54.2 billion, now the largest health insurance transaction in the U.S.

Those two deals would significantly change the U.S. health insurance industry by consolidating the five biggest competitors into three major players.

According to the Bloomberg article, several people familiar with the situation reported that Justice Department officials, “who are responsible for protecting competition, are concerned that the deal would harm customers.”

McLaughlin and Forden also reported, “While the companies may offer to sell assets to gain approval for the deals, that’s unlikely to sway antitrust officials, one of the people said. The final decision on whether to sue to block the deals could come this week or next, another of the people said. The companies could settle a lawsuit before or after one is filed.”

And, they wrote, “In addition to the Justice Department’s antitrust division, state attorneys general also have raised concerns about the mergers and may join any Justice Department challenge, two people said.”

In June, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) called on the Department of Justice to block the proposed health insurer mergers, which were undergoing review at the time. In a letter to Renata Hesse, principal deputy assistant attorney general, antitrust division at the Department of Justice, the senators voiced concerns that the proposed Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers could threaten jobs, increase premiums, and decrease access to quality health care.

When the Aetna-Humana deal was announced, Healthcare Informatics' Hagland wrote that a report in the American Journal of Managed Care online noted, “The deal, which has been approved the boards of directors of both companies, continues the trend of consolidation that has swept the healthcare industry since passage of the ACA. Some fear that ongoing consolidation will thwart competition and drive up prices for consumers, undermining a key goal of the law.”

Healthcare Informatics will continue to post updates on developments as they occur.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Program Presents Fourth Class of Startups

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, a program that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, has brought in nine more health tech startups as part of its fourth class.

DirectTrust Adds Five Board Members

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that support health information exchange, announced the appointment of five new executives to its board of directors.

Analysis: Many States Continue to Have Restrictive Telemedicine Policies

State Medicaid programs are evolving to accelerate the adoption of telemedicine models, this evolution is occurring more quickly in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by Manatt Health.