Judge blocks proposed $54 billion merger of Anthem, Cigna

A federal judge blocked the $54 billion merger between health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna on Wednesday, saying the deal would increase prices and reduce competition. It is the second recent court decision to uphold the Justice Department’s opposition to deals that would have radically reshaped the health insurance landscape, consolidating the five largest insurers in the United States into three companies.

“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 firms’ 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 $37 billion merger between Aetna and Humana last month. The Justice Department sued last summer to stop both mergers, and the judge’s rulings in both cases are a clear affirmation of antitrust officials’ argument that the deals would harm competition.

Acting assistant attorney general Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s antitrust division called the decision a victory for consumers.

“This merger would have stifled competition, harming consumers by increasing health insurance prices and slowing innovation aimed at lowering the costs of healthcare,” Snyder said in a statement.

Anthem’s chief executive, Joseph R. Swedish, said in a statement that the company would “continue to work aggressively to complete the transaction” and would file an appeal.

Read the full story at the Washington Post: Judge blocks $54 billion Anthem-Cigna health insurance merger – The Washington Post

Start typing and press Enter to search