A $37 billion insurer merger moves one step closer

The companies expect the deal to be completed in the second half of 2016

Aetna and Humana shareholders on Monday voted to approve a merger between the two companies.

In separate statements, both companies said that 99% of its voting shares approved the deal.

Background

In July, Aetna announced it reached a $37 billion deal to purchase Humana, which could make Aetna the nation's second-biggest insurer by revenue.  The combined company would cover more than 33 million people. And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the combined company would provide coverage to more than one-quarter of Medicare Advantage enrollees. Aetna has about 7% of Medicare Advantage market share, compared with 19% for Humana.

Hospitals have expressed concern about the merger, arguing that it could result in lower payments for providers and higher prices for consumers.

Next steps

Federal regulators must approve the proposal, and antitrust experts say the Department of Justice (DOJ) and state attorneys general are likely to scrutinize it closely. DOJ is reviewing the deal to determine whether it would "substantially ... lessen competition" and thus violate the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.

Aetna and Humana are planning to merge. Here's how to think about it.

In addition, the deal must meet certain closing conditions. The two insurers expect the deal to be completed by the second half of 2016 (Kutscher, Modern Healthcare, 10/19; AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 10/19; Pear, New York Times, 9/22).

On the Weekly Briefing: Is the ACA driving mega-mergers?

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