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US: Feds: Humana-Aetna deal being reviewed ‘very, very carefully’

 |  March 20, 2016

Testifying before the US Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, government attorney William Baer said the deal is “a game-changer that demands merger law enforcement officials to scrutinize very, very carefully to make sure we aren’t making a mistake in which shareholders benefit and the consumers pay the cost.” Baer is assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Humana and Aetna are pursuing a merger at the same time as two other huge, national health insurance companies: Anthem and Cigna.

Regulators have been closely scrutinizing both deals, because their completion could reduce the number of big players in the health insurance industry from five to three.

“Whenever you have two major transactions in an already concentrated industry occurring roughly at the same time, one needs to look at the interaction between two transactions and look down the road,” Baer said. “It also affects one’s view of whether or not one or both transactions are really fixable.”

Humana agreed in July to be acquired by Aetna for $37 billion in a deal that would create the second-largest managed-care company in the United States.

Full Content: The Business Journals

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