Appeal court blocks Anthem-Cigna merger ruling: 7 insights

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld a lower court ruling by a 2-1 vote blocking the potential Anthem-Cigna merger, Bloomberg reports.

Here's what you need to know.

1. The appellate court upheld the belief the merger would be anticompetitive.

2. The three-judge panel wrote in their ruling as reported by Bloomberg, "We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in enjoining the merger based on Anthem's failure to show the kind of extraordinary efficiencies necessary to offset the conceded anticompetitive effect of the merger."

3. Bloomberg reports the latest decision will likely end the potential merger between Anthem and Cigna. After the initial decision against Anthem in February, the payers have filed lawsuits against each other. Cigna is seeking a $1.85 billion breakup fee, while Anthem blamed Cigna for undermining its legal defense of the deal.

4. A Delaware judged barred Cigna from walking away from the deal until May 8. On the date, Anthem will likely ask the court to extend its order through the end of litigation there. If rejected, Cigna could leave the merger.

5. Cigna shares fell 3.3 percent when the ruling broke at 10 a.m. EST., Bloomberg reports.

Anthem shares were down 0.2 percent as of 10 a.m. EST, and were down 1.2 percent as of 11:30 a.m.

6. The American Medical Association issued a statement following the ruling, applauding the appellate court's decision.

AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD, said in a release, "The appellate court sent a clear message to the health insurance industry: a merger that smothers competition and choice, raises premiums and reduces quality and innovation is inherently harmful to patients and physicians."

7. Anthem could appeal its case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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