Anthem-Cigna $54 Billion Merger Blocked

[UPDATED] Anthem filed an appeal Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia to challenge the Justice Department’s decision to bar the merger with Cigna.

A federal judge has blocked the $54 billion merger of Anthem and Cigna, which would have created the single largest medical healthcare insurer in the country, in a market with “only four national carriers still standing.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson of the District of Columbia agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice and 11 states that sued to stop the merger of the second and third largest medical insurance companies.

“They have carried their burden to demonstrate that the proposed combination is likely to have a substantial effect on competition in what is already a highly concentrated market,” Jackson wrote.

She found the merger would “substantially lessen competition in violation of Sec. 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act.”

Anthem Inc. operates as Blue Cross Blue Shield. The merger was enjoined due to its potential to impact the market on the sale of health insurance to “national accounts,” those customers with more than 5,000 employees.

Jackson summarized her full opinion because much of the detail was considered confidential corporate information, even though it was discussed in open court hearings.  The full opinion was filed under seal.

Although the companies came forward with evidence in support of the merger, Jackson said.

Case: U.S. v. Anthem Inc., No. 16-1493 (US Dist. Court District of Columbia)

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