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Architects of insurance mega-merger plans

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A look at Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini, who has struck a $34 billion deal for Aetna to buy Humana, and Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish, who has a deal for Anthem to buy Cigna for $48 billion.


The merger plans won’t necessarily go smoothly: The Justice Department is leery of huge concurrent transactions in the managed-care industry. And hospital officials and physician groups, fearing cuts in their revenues because of the  new behemoth insurers’ bargaining power, oppose  the acquisitions. Further, two congressional committees have scheduled hearings for the fall on the mergers.

As The Wall Street Journal noted,  the “Aetna deal would create by far the biggest player in the private-insurer version of Medicare, so concern over market concentration will focus on the companies’ footprint in that business, known as Medicare Advantage. Mr. Bertolini said that the vast majority of Medicare Advantage consumers have at least five options currently, so ‘we don’t see a reduction in competition for consumers’ from the Humana deal.”

“He argues that the merged company will be better positioned to work closely with health-care providers and the federal government to bring down costs and improve quality.”






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