- Aetna is selling a portfolio of Medicare Advantage assets via an auction, The New York Times reported.
- The move comes a strategy to help ease antitrust concerns with the health insurance giant's pending $37 billion acquisition of Humana.
- The Justice Department has been vigilant of the pending Aetna-Humana megamerger as well as Anthem's pending $48 billion acquisition of Cigna as they are four of the biggest health insurers in the country.
The Aetna-Humana marriage received approval from the Illinois Department of Health last week. Both insurers recently announced they pushed back the deadline to complete the merger to December 31 in order to gain more time to receive the state regulatory approvals needed for it to proceed.
Humana's presence in the Medicare Advantage market, with 3.2 million clients, is appealing to Aetna because it is growing fast as the U.S. population ages, Bloomberg noted.
The California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has urged national antitrust regulators to block Aetna's acquisition of Humana citing reduced competition, an already concentrated market, a decrease in quality of care, and an increase in prices. Days earlier, the director of the California Department of Managed Health Care approved the pending Aetna-Humana merger with certain conditions.
Aetna has already sent pitchbooks to potential buyers, and it will begin collecting bids for its assets, which are valued at about $1 billion, next week, according to Reuters.