Feds not optimistic after Anthem-Cigna merger meeting

Antitrust regulators are unsure that approving the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger would allow the health insurance industry to remain competitive, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The regulators recently met with Anthem and Cigna representatives at the Department of Justice to discuss the implications of the merger, which is one of two major deals that would consolidate four of the industry's largest payers into two companies.

While sometimes federal regulators can be persuaded to reconsider their stance on a merger if companies are willing to compromise terms, according to the WSJ, regulators told Anthem and Cigna they were not optimistic the companies could offer satisfactory fixes.

It’s not the end for the proposed merger, though, as the publication’s sources say there will be more meetings held this week by the companies' representatives and DOJ officials. Though the WSJ notes that previously, a decision from the DOJ was expected by July 2, a source now says it could be made by mid-July.

If regulators do block the deal, Cigna could be in the market to acquire a smaller managed healthcare company, an analyst tells The Street. In the event of a blocked merger, Anthem will pay Cigna $1.85 billion, according to the article.

Tensions between Anthem and Cigna executives have also added to uncertainty surrounding the merger, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- read the article from The Street