- The shareholders of Anthem and Cigna voted overwhelmingly in favor of the merger plan that would combine them into the largest health insurer in the U.S., with 53 million members.
- The votes were held at separate company meetings at which the deals received 99% of the votes, the insurers said.
- The deal is still far from certain, however, as it still requires approval of federal and state regulators, which may not come easy as numerous groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, lobby for extreme scrutiny.
It's a waiting game now to see whether Anthem’s $54 billion purchase of Cigna will get its approvals. If so, it's expected to close in the second half of 2016, Cigna stated.
The deal is being viewed in context with the planned merger between Aetna and Humana (also awaiting regulatory approval), which together would narrow the nation's five main insurers (along with UnitedHealth) down to three.
Despite significant pushback, Cigna and Anthem have been working to resolve potential antitrust issues in advance, Forbes notes, such as Cigna's recent move to settle about a half a dozen shareholder lawsuits over the merger.