Cigna sues anthem after us court blocks health merger

Health insurer Cigna said Tuesday it filed suit against Anthem claiming billions of dollars in breakup fees and damages after a federal court blocked their proposed merger on antitrust concerns.

Cigna said it filed suit against Anthem demanding a $1.85 billion breakup fee, plus more than $13 billion in additional damages following the February 8 US court decision blocking the proposed $50 billion merger.

Anthem rejected the claim, calling Cigna’s “purported” termination of the deal “invalid.”

The back-and-forth came hours after two other insurers, Aetna and Humana, formally abandoned their own merger plan following a similarly unfavorable antitrust ruling last month.

Both proposed mergers were blocked by federal judges, who agreed with Justice Department antitrust regulators that reducing the number of major US insurers from five to three could harm consumers.

The judicial crackdown comes as Congress moves to revise former president Barack Obama’s Affordable Car Act, known as Obamacare, partly due to concerns about the lack of choice for consumers seeking health insurance plans.

Cigna said it was disappointed in the outcome, but that it had met its obligations under its agreement with Anthem.

“Anthem contracted for and assumed full responsibility to lead the federal and state regulatory approval process, as well as the litigation strategy, under the merger agreement,” Cigna said in a press release.

“Cigna fulfilled all of its contractual obligations and Anthem throughout the fully cooperated with approval process.”

An Anthem spokeswoman said the company extended the merger agreement through April 30, meaning “Cigna does not have a right to terminate the agreement.”

“Anthem will continue to enforce its rights under the Merger Agreement and remains committed to closing the transaction,” Anthem said.

Earlier Tuesday, Aetna and Humana each released statements saying they mutually agreed to end their merger agreement and that Aetna would pay Humana a $1 billion breakup fee as set by the agreement.

Shares of Cigna rose 0.6 percent, while Anthem dropped 0.4 percent.

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