CEOs of Aetna, Anthem make case for big health insurance mergers; panel looks at competition

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The leaders of two major health insurers planning separate multi-billion dollar acquisitions made the case for the deals to Congress as senators questioned whether they would hurt competition and raise prices for consumers.

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Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem plans to buy Cigna for $48 billion, and rival Aetna is looking to buy Medicare Advantage coverage provider Humana for $35 billion. The deals came under scrutiny at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

The Justice Department must pass judgment on them.

Mark Bertolini, CEO of third-largest U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc., testified "robust choice and competition will remain in the Medicare market" after the acquisition of Humana. Anthem Inc. CEO Joseph Swedish said competition would be preserved and consumers would benefit from expanded access to care in its combination with Cigna.