Judge Denies Aetna-Humana Merger
January 2017 ~
On January 23, a federal judge ruled against Aetna’s proposed merger-acquisition of Humana, maintaining the Justice Department’s decision that the multi-billion deal would be anticompetitive and raise prices for consumers.
Judge John B. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in his ruling stated the insurers “proffered efficiencies do not offset the anticompetitive effects of the merger” and the deal would “substantially lessen” competition in the Medicare Advantage market and public exchanges.
“The government identified 364 counties across 21 states where it argues that concentration in the Medicare Advantage market would rise above the presumptively unlawful level if the merger proceeds, and 17 counties across 3 states where that would be true in the public exchange markets,” Judge Bates wrote in his ruling.
The American Medical Association (AMA), one of the many organizations to voice its opposition the deal, shared its support of the court’s ruling in a statement, noting, “The court’s ruling sets a notable legal precedent by recognizing Medicare Advantage as a separate and distinct market that does not compete with traditional Medicare.”
An Aetna spokesperson has said the insurer is currently reviewing the ruling and “giving serious consideration to an appeal.”
Source(s): FierceHealthcare; United States District Court for The District of Columbia; NPR; The Washington Post; The New York Times; Reuters;