Urgent care operators are watching with interest as Anthem and Cigna Corp. prepare to fight for their proposed $53 billion merger. The U.S. Justice Department has already expressed concerns about the deal moving forward, claiming that federal and state regulators complain consummation would reduce competition, leading to higher prices and lower levels of service. For their part, Anthem insists the proposed massive new company would be in a better bargaining position to negotiate deals with (ie, reduce payments to) healthcare providers, possibly saving consumers more than $2 billion annually. The first portion of the court case, which will consider the national implications, is expected to last through December 2. A second segment will evaluate effects on regional markets (unless the deal is voided during the first proceedings). The final ruling is expected to come around the time of President-elect Trump’s inauguration. It remains to be seen how Trump’s perceived probusiness stance would affect the Justice Department’s handling of the case if things progress beyond that time, but antitrust analysts have expressed doubt that they would make any significant changes in a case already in court.
Anthem, Cigna Set to Square Off Against the Justice Department