- Aetna execs met Friday with DOJ officials to discuss how divestitures would resolve any antitrust issues to pave the way for the insurer's pending merger with Humana, Reuters reported.
- The meeting followed reports of significant but not publicly specified DOJ concerns around the deal, which caused Humana shares to fall as much as 11% late last week.
- The meeting came just a few weeks after a similar one held with DOJ officials to discuss the pending Anthem/Cigna merger, which is being reviewed concurrently but viewed by some analysts as less likely to close. The DOJ meetings signal the final stages for both deals, according to Bloomberg.
Aetna's approval hinges on whether regulators believe the merger would excessively reduce competition among Medicare Advantage plans.
Aetna has suggested Medicare Advantage also competes with traditional Medicare, and it presented a divestiture plan to the DOJ Friday. Previous reports indicated Aetna was preparing to sell assets worth several billion to reduce any significant overlap it shares with Humana, conditional upon completion of the deal.
As of Saturday, WellCare Health Plans Inc. and Centene had indicated interest in assets that Aetna may be offering, Bloomberg reported. It quoted a source indicating the two companies had each submitted separate bids for Aetna Medicare Advantage policies up for sale, and that some other companies are also considering pieces of the business.
The Kaiser Family Foundation determined last year a merger of Aetna and Humana would give the company at least half of all Medicare Advantage enrollees in 10 states, and at least two-thirds in five states, Bloomberg noted.