- The approval process for the pending megamerger between Aetna and Humana could be completed by the U.S. Justice Department before the end of September, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported.
- Bloomberg analysts say representatives from both insurance giants met with DOJ officials on July 8.
- Earlier this month, it was reported that Aetna planned to auction off some of its Medicare Advantage assets to ease antitrust concerns over its $37 billion acquisition, which now has 90% of required state approvals.
The Aetna-Humana deal was expected to close in June, but the companies extended the deadline to December 31. When representatives from Aetna met with the DOJ, divestitures were discussed to mitigate antitrust issues as the acquisition, if approved, would reduce the total number of publicly traded health insurers in the U.S. from five to three.
A former antitrust official at the DOJ told Hartford Courant, however, "considerable evidence" shows divestitures are not "uniformly successful."
Regulators are concerned with the insurers' large share of Medicare Advantage plans, according to a Bloomberg report. "Humana’s big position in the fast-growing Medicare Advantage market is a key piece of its appeal to Aetna," Bloomberg analysts wrote. "Combined, Aetna and Humana would be the largest seller of those plans."
Last week, New York gave the deal its approval, concluding that it would not reduce competition in the state's health insurance market, provided that Aetna continues offering Medicare products and does not cut any benefits. Aetna's senior director of media relations told the Louisville Business Journal in an email they have received 18 of the 20 state approvals required to proceed.
The Hartford Courant reported the approval might require Aetna to pare down its Medicare Advantage plans to reduce antitrust concerns.