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DOJ files suit against 2 payer megamergers: 5 things to know

The Justice Department's antitrust officials made a much-anticipated move by filing a suit against the pending Anthem/Cigna and Aetna/Humana mergers, according to MedPage Today.

Here are five key takeaways:

1. Officials say the megamergers would reduce competition, and consumers would bear the burden of the deals — escalated prices. U.S. Attorney General Lorette Lynch said, "We will not hesitate to intervene. We will not shy away from complex cases. We will protect the interests of the American people."

2. Officials claim Aetna's acquisition of Humana would harm nearly 1.6 million Medicare Advantage customers in 364 countries. Earlier this month, Aetna spoke to antitrust officials about plans to sell billion-dollar assets to squash regulatory concerns. However, officials still filed the suit and cited concerns about the merger's impact on individual plans.

3. In its suit against Anthem's Cigna acquisition, officials claimed the merger would stifle completion in a market that is already undergoing major consolidation, which is negatively impacting customers, physicians and hospitals.

4. The suits also cite concerns about the mergers' impact on businesses, local markets, contracts with physicians and individual exchanges.

5. So far, 11 states and Washington, D.C., have supported the DOJ's suit against Anthem and Cigna. Additionally, eight states and Washington, D.C., joined the suit filed against Aetna and Humana.

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