Aetna’s $34 billion acquisition of Humana violates antitrust law – U.S. Justice Department

According to the Justice Department, the acquisition violates antitrust law since it adversely affects the insurance of individuals who are covered under Obamacare and the disabled who are on Medicare. However, changes to these laws are on the anvil with Donald Trump taking office.

Aetna Inc.’s acquisition of Humana Inc. has crashed into a wall with an attorney from the U.S. Justice Department telling a federal judge that the planned acquisition breaks antitrust law since it reduces competition in the Medicare Advantage and Obamacare exchange business.

A trial could last weeks.

In July the Justice Department had filed a lawsuit requesting the court to stop Aetna’s $34 billion acquisition of Humana arguing that this would adversely effect insurance of individuals who are covered under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and the disabled who are on Medicare.

Aetna’s lawyers have shot back saying, Medicare Advantage competes with the government’s own Medicare program for the disabled and elderly. Furthermore, it will stay out of the Obamacare exchanges program in the near future.

Incidentally, with Donald Trump, President-elect taking office, both programs could undergo change.

The Justice Department has argued that traditional government-managed Medicare does not compete with Medicare Advantage since it is run by insurers.

Further, Craig Conrath, a lawyer appearing for the Justice Department stated that although Aetna has stated that it plans on largely exiting the Obamacare program in 2017, it could re-enter in 2018, if it so chooses.

Further, as per available written communications, Aetna exited Obamacare because of the antitrust lawsuit.

Aetna said it would not return to the Obamacare exchanges until 2019, at the earliest.

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