- U.S. District Judge John Bates, who is overseeing the case against Aetna's $37 billion acquisition of Humana brought on by the U.S. Justice Department, released the case scheduling order Friday.
- The trial will last 13 days beginning on December 5 and ending on December 21 - only 10 days before Aetna's and Humana's contractual deadline. The insurers had pushed for a two-week trial in October.
- Bates also filed the defendants' protective order and began a fact discovery process on Friday.
Aetna and Humana are two of the five major health insurance companies nationwide. The DOJ and several states are attempting to block the merger in court, citing reduced competition and increased costs to consumers. In July, the DOJ filed the lawsuit against Aetna-Humana and a lawsuit against Anthem's $45 billion acquisition of Cigna as related cases since they were considered to have similar issues. Judge Bates was assigned to oversee both cases.
Earlier this month, Bates handed over the Anthem-Cigna case, which was then assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, to expedite the Aetna-Humana court proceedings because their contractual deadline is more imminent. Aetna and Humana had pushed for a two-week trial in October in order to have more time to secure any remaining required approvals from regulators. Bates argued the case was too complex and important to be rushed and the insurers failed to prove a trial date in December would cause harm.
"Defendants agree not to consummate or otherwise complete the challenged acquisition until 12:01 a.m. on the sixth day following the entry of a final and appealable judgment, and only if the Court enters judgment in favor of Defendants or otherwise permits consummation of the challenged transaction," Friday's court filing states.
One of the main concerns regulators have had with the proposed merger is the insurers' presence in the Medicare Advantage market. Aetna and Humana are both among the four largest MA companies, with Humana being the second largest as it has nearly 3.2 million members, Modern Healthcare reported.
This is the scheduling order Bates filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for the case against Aetna-Humana: