Cigna eval­u­ates op­tions as An­them ex­tends merger dead­line

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —Shelby Liv­ingston

An­them last week ex­tended the dead­line to com­plete its $54.2 bil­lion tie-up with Cigna through April 30 be­cause it an­tic­i­pates need­ing more time to gain nec­es­sary ap­provals re­gard­less of how a U.S. dis­trict court judge rules on the deal. That de­ci­sion could come any day.

Cigna re­sponded that it “in­tends to eval­u­ate its op­tions” once the court rules—another sign of Cigna’s luke­warm com­mit­ment to the merger and its de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship with An­them. The deal to com­bine the two in­surance giants was ini­tially an­nounced in July 2015.

In­di­anapo­lis-based An­them and Bloom­field, Conn.-based Cigna have been wait­ing on U.S. Dis­trict Judge Amy Ber­man Jack­son’s de­ci­sion since the trial ended Jan. 4. The Jus­tice Depart­ment sued to block the merger in July 2016, ar­gu­ing that it would re­duce com­pe­ti­tion in nearly ev­ery in­surance mar­ket, drive up prices, re­duce qual­ity and con­sumer choice, and sti­fle in­no­va­tion in the health­care in­dus­try.

Most in­surance an­a­lysts ex­pect Jack­son to block the merger. Leerink Part­ners an­a­lyst Ana Gupte has given it less than a 10% chance of be­ing ap­proved.

Cit­ing un­named sources, the New York Post re­ported last week that Jack­son is ex­pected to block the merger.

Mean­while, in­sur­ers Aetna and Hu­mana are wait­ing for U.S. Dis­trict Judge John Bates to rule on their pro­posed $37 bil­lion merger. Bates is ex­pected to is­sue his de­ci­sion this month.

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