- Humana, Aetna, Cigna and Anthem seemed unscathed by Wednesday's federal suits against their proposed megamergers, with all four stock finishing up on Thursday.
- Humana had the biggest gain, closing up 8.23% at $171.53, after reaching a high of around $174 at 2 p.m.
- Cigna climbed gradually but steadily throughout the day to close at $140.32, up 5.42%. Aetna and Anthem both had more modest increases — finishing the day at $118.30 (up 1.55%) and $139 (up 2.61%) respectively.
Doubts about the likelihood that either the Aetna-Humana or Cigna-Anthem merger would go through have been swirling around since the combos were proposed. The pending mergers would shrink the field of major health insurers from five to three.
Cigna was quick to adjust investor guidance following the Department of Justice lawsuit, saying Wednesday that the deal likely would close earliest in 2017 “if at all.”
The American Medical Association praised the DOJ “for fighting to protect patients and physicians from a health insurance system dominated by a few corporate Goliaths with unprecedented market power. Patients are better served in a healthcare system that promotes competition and choice.”
The group added: “Today’s action by the DOJ acknowledges the AMA’s concern that patients’ interests can be harmed with big insurers acquire rivals and develop strangleholds on local markets. Allowing commercial health insurers to become too big and exert control over the delivery of health care would be bad for patients and vitality of the nation’s healthcare system.”