Judge: Rulings for both insurer mega-merger lawsuits unlikely in 2016

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates said at a pretrial meeting Thursday he could not rule on both lawsuits against Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers this year and will likely have to push one back, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed two lawsuits July 21 — one against Indianapolis-based Anthem and Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna and another against Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna and Louisville, Ky.-based Humana — to block their multibillion transactions on grounds the deals are anticompetitive.

Anthem argued its case should be decided before the end of the year because its deal with Cigna hinges on an April 30 deadline. Even if Anthem secures federal approval before then, the insurer said it will still need time to garner state approvals, as many states have halted their investigations in light of the DOJ's lawsuit.

Aetna urged for a fall trial and a ruling by year's end as well, arguing its deal with Humana is simpler and was announced first, Reuters reported. The deals were presented weeks apart in July 2015.

Mr. Bates has not said which case will be decided first. 

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