Department of Justice Sues to Block Insurance Mergers

Saying the proposed deal would “lead to higher health-insurance prices, reduced benefits, less innovation, and worse service” for consumers, the Department of Justice yesterday filed a lawsuit in federal court to block Aetna’s acquisition of Humana. DOJ also took action to block Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna, saying it would “substantially lessen competition, harming millions of American consumers, as well as doctors and hospitals.” Eight states and the District of Columbia joined DOJ in its action to block the Aetna-Humana deal, while 11 states and the District of Columbia joined the action to block the Anthem-Cigna deal. The deals, if allowed to proceed, would create three major national insurers where there are now five. AHA vigorously urged DOJ to challenge both deals on the grounds that they would reduce competition and harm consumers and hospitals. In the complaints and public comments made yesterday, DOJ repeatedly emphasized that the deals would harm innovation and quality in the health care arena, arguments AHA made repeatedly in its analyses and meetings with enforcement officials. In a statement, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack called the action “good news for consumers, who would have faced increased costs and fewer choices for coverage.”

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