Anthem to buy Cigna in $54B deal

Anthem has succeeded in its efforts to buy Cigna, announcing a $54 biillion deal to merge the two health insurance marketshares.  The transaction is the largest marriage of health insurers in history, combining the second-largest (Anthem) and fourth-largest (Cigna) health insurers in the country.

The combined company, which can spread costs over a much larger pool,  could anticipate better negotiating power in rate-setting discussions with providers. The acquisition of Cigna also adds Medicare Advantage plans as an important service line to Anthem’s portfolio, which had been focused primarily on businesses and private insurance.

 Yet the deal rekindles concerns about monopolizing marketshare among the nation’s larger health insurers. The role of Anthem’s parent sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is also unclear at this time.

The deal is the latest step in a flurry of consolidation attempts within the health insurance industry: Aetna is still in talks concerning a merger with Humana, while the largest private insurer in the country, UnitedHealthcare, is chasing Aetna.

Topics: Finance