Delaware objects to Aetna, Humana merger

A proposed merger between health insurance giants Aetna and Humana would drive up prices, according to a lawsuit blocking the plan.

Aetna and Humana are the third and fifth largest health insurance companies in the country. Their plans to merge have drawn opposition from the Delaware Department of Justice.

State Attorney General Matt Denn said in a statement that allowing the companies to combine would reduce competition and drive up prices, “This proposed merger would very significantly reduce competition for health insurance through Medicare Advantage plans in the counties that contain three-quarters of our state’s population.”

Both Aetna and Humana sell the Medicare alternative plans in New Castle and Kent counties. “At a time when health care costs are already a concern, this would move Delaware in the wrong direction,” Denn said.

Delaware is joining eight states and the District of Columbia in filing a complaint in U.S. District Court in D.C.

In the complaint, the states point to the benefit of competition between the two companies. “This competition benefits Americans who can least afford health insurance,” the complaint states. “It benefits seniors who visit doctors and hospitals more than twice as much as the average person and have less income than the average American household.”

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