Judge blocks Anthem and Cigna merger
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the merger of health insurers Anthem and Cigna, giving the U.S. Justice Department a second antitrust victory in the health-care market in less than a month’s time.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson cited antitrust concerns in her decision (PDF), report the National law Journal (sub. req.), the Washington Post and the New York Times DealBook blog.
“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,” Jackson wrote.
The decision is a second victory for the U.S. Justice Department, which sought to block the Anthem-Cigna merger as well the combination of Aetna and Humana. A different federal judge blocked the Aetna and Humana merger last month.
Anthem’s chief executive said in a statement that the company would appeal. Cigna said it was reviewing the opinion and evaluating its options. Cigna would receive a $1.85 billion termination fee from Anthem if the deal does not go through.