U.S. antitrust watchdog sues to block two separate health insurance mergers Anthem's purchase of Cigna and Aetna's acquisition of Humana. Bobbi Rebel reports.
U.S. antitrust regulators are suing to block two separate health insurance mergers, Anthem's $45-billion purchase of Cigna and Aetna's $33 billion acquisition of Humana. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch: (SOUNDBITE) LORETTA E. LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If allowed to proceed, these mergers would fundamentally reshape the health insurance industry. They would leave much of the multi trillion dollar health insurance industry the hands of just three mammoth insurance companies, drastically restricting competition in a number of key markets that tens of millions of Americans rely on to receive healthcare." Regarding the suit against Aetna, the Justice Department cited concerns about customers of Medicare Advantage, the program that serves older people. And regarding the suit against Anthem-Cigna, it said the combination would substantially lessen competition, harming millions of Americans, doctors and hospitals. Shares of all the insurers rose on the news. Caroline Humer covers the story for Reuters. (SOUNDBITE) CAROLINE HUMER, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Investors are looking at them to buy back shares once they get that cash in hand. And, in general, all these companies have not been buying back shares, and investors have told us that's something they expect to see, and that would be good for the stocks." In response to the DoJ, Cigna said it's now evaluating its options. Aetna and Humana said they plan "to vigorously defend the companies' pending merger."