- The U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against Anthem's proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna will be split into two parts, according to a Tuesday decision from the federal judge overseeing the case.
- U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will hear about the deal's potential impact on national markets on Nov. 21 and the parties will discuss concerns with local markets on Dec. 12.
- Last month, the DOJ argued in a court filing that the health insurance giants were accusing one another of breaches in their contractual agreement to merge.
Addressing national and local concerns separately could help the DOJ's chances of proving its case as it allows for more involved testimony on both issues. If the agency is able to show within the first few weeks of the trial that the deal would cause the issues it alleges — significantly harmed competition, increased costs to consumers, and hindered innovation efforts — the judge can make a final decision sooner than anticipated.
Anthem's legal representative Christopher Curran told Reuters that the judge's decision to split the trial into two phases is "better." "If we're going to lose and we lose quickly, that's better for everyone," he said.
A recent analysis from the American Medical Association (AMA) helps bolster the case against the merger, after report released last month showed the merger between Anthem and Cigna would reduce competition in 121 metro areas across 14 states. The way in which Anthem and Cigna have been behaving ever since, including accusations of breaching the agreement and disagreements over issues like integration planning, has elevated concerns that the merger would provide the substantial benefits to consumers, as the companies claim.
Several states and the DOJ filed the lawsuit challenging the merger in July. The suit was then combined with another case against the pending $37 billion merger between Aetna and Humana.