Judge blocks $54 billion Anthem-Cigna health insurance merger
By Carolyn Y. Johnson
February 8 at 9:10 PM - The Washington Post
A federal judge blocked the $54 billion merger between health insurance
giants Anthem and Cigna on Wednesday, saying the deal would increase prices and
"The evidence has also shown that the merger is likely to result in higher
prices, and that it will have other anticompetitive effects: it will eliminate
the two firmsf vigorous competition against each other for national accounts,
reduce the number of national carriers available to respond to solicitations in
the future, and diminish the prospects for innovation in the market," U.S.
District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in a 12-page order.
The ruling follows a similar decision by a different judge to block the proposed
merger between Aetna and Humana last month. Both deals would have transformed
the health insurance landscape, consolidating the five largest health insurers
into three big companies. The court decisions are a victory for the Justice
Department, which sued last summer to stop both mergers.
Anthem spokeswoman Jill Becher said the company was reviewing the judge's
decision and had no comment. A spokesman for Cigna did not immediately respond
to a request for comment.
"Todayfs ruling by the D.C. District Court confirms that the Department of
Justice made the right decision in challenging the Anthem-Cigna
mega-merger. As a result, millions of Americans have been protected from
higher insurance costs, fewer choices of providers and less innovation in health
care delivery," said Rick Pollack, president of the American Hospital
Association, in a statement.