Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna and Louisville, Ky.-based Humana extended the deadline of their $37 billion merger agreement from June 30 to Dec. 31.
Both insurers filed documents to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday, granting them six more months to garner all required state and federal regulatory approvals, Business Insurance reported.
"They entered the agreement with an idea of how long the regulatory process will take. Obviously, they didn't quite get it right," David Balto, a Washington-based antitrust lawyer and former Federal Trade Commission policy director, told Business Insurance.
In light of an increasingly challenged $48 billion deal between Indianapolis-based Anthem and Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna, odds seemed to favor the smaller Aetna-Humana deal, Bloomberg reported. However, the deadline extension may signal the latter has also met underestimated barriers.
The merger gained approval in 17 out of 20 required states, with the Illinois Department of Illinois most recently approving the deal. The California Department of Managed Health also approved the deal, while the Missouri Department of Insurance's preliminary order did not.