The Department of Justice (DOJ) argued against the viability of Aetna's plans to sell off assets to counter concerns over its proposed $34 billion merger with Humana, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Aetna had agreed to sell $117 million in assets, representing nearly 30,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees in 21 states, to Molina Healthcare.
- Federal prosecutors questioned whether Molina’s purchase of those assets be enough to sustain competition in the market for private Medicare plans in the markets where Aetna and Humana operate.
The much-anticipated antitrust trial against the Aetna-Humana merger brought on by the DOJ earlier this year began December 5. On Thursday, federal prosecutors questioned John Molina, chief financial officer for Molina Healthcare, about details of the merger.
As federal prosecutors questioned Molina, they pointed to documents that showed that the health system had doubts about taking on assets owned by Aetna or Humana. According to documents filed with the court, one Molina official said the company was “woefully under-resourced” to take on these assets and that these assets were involved with a “different business from what we do.”
While evidence presented by prosecutors pointed to the contrary, John Molina said objections to the purchase of Aetna and Humana assets were made based on incomplete information. The trial over the Aetna-Humana merger is expected to last through December 30 and a decision on whether to allow the merger is expected next month.