Anthem, Cigna OK with unsealing CEOs' testimony in antitrust trial

A judge blocked the public and the press from viewing part of Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish and Cigna CEO Joseph Cordani's testimony last Tuesday. Image: Getty/aerogondo

When Cigna CEO David Cordani took the stand last week in the Anthem-Cigna antitrust trial, controversy ensued when the judge granted the insurers’ request to block the public and the press from hearing part of his testimony.

Cordani’s testimony came on the second day of a trial that began Nov. 21 concerning the legality of Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Justice Department sued to block the tie-up, as well as the Aetna-Humana deal, saying they would give the companies too much market power at the expense of consumers.

Part of the government’s argument against the Anthem-Cigna deal has been that the companies would find it more difficult to integrate—and produce efficiencies—than they claimed, given evidence of tension between them.

David Cordani speaking
Cigna CEO David Cordani
Indeed, lawyers asked both Cordani and Swedish about the insurers’ relationship, but first Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed to close the proceedings to the public after the executives said the discussion would involve confidential information, according to the WSJ. News organizations responded by sending a letter to the judge that outlined concerns about public access to the trial, so Jackson ordered insurers to submit filings by Monday explaining their positions on the matter.

In its filing (PDF), Anthem said that because the transcripts in question don’t go into great detail about confidential topics, it is comfortable with the court unsealing the portions that had been sealed. However, the company “intends to remain vigilant in protecting its confidential and commercially sensitive information,” the filing said.

Cigna said in its filing (PDF) that it also doesn’t oppose unsealing of the transcripts, but asked that Cordani’s email address remain confidential.

In testimony Tuesday that was open to the public, Anthem lawyer Christopher Curran asked Cordani whether acquiring Cigna—which is known for its value-based care innovations—would accelerate Anthem’s ability to spread these benefits to more patients and providers. Cordani replied “that was the objective on Day One,” but didn’t say if that continued to be Cigna’s goal, the WSJ noted.

In response to questions from Justice Department lawyers, Cordani also admitted that because of the deal’s complexity, it would be challenging to integrate Anthem and Cigna, the article added.