2015 TOP STORIES: Anthem hit by hackers, strikes $54B Cigna deal

Anthem Inc. was at the center of two huge news stories in 2015.

In February, the Indianapolis-based health insurer disclosed that hackers had stolen 79 million customers’ personal information—the largest data breach ever in the health care industry. The FBI and others investigating the attack have hinted that it originated in China, but no determination has been made.

Anthem’s handling of the breach was received favorably by the majority of consumers, according to one survey. But Anthem still faces more than 100 lawsuits from consumers blaming instances of identity theft on the breach.

In July, Anthem struck a deal to acquire Connecticut-based Cigna Corp. That deal, valued at $54 billion in cash, stock and debt, would be the largest takeover in the history of the health insurance industry as well as the largest in corporate Indiana history.

But Anthem faces several hurdles. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice could move to block the deal or require Anthem and Cigna to sell off significant chunks of their businesses. The Justice Department will also be reviewing a similar mega-merger, between Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc.

If both deals go through, they would reduce the five largest health insurers in the nation to three. Anthem—which, after swallowing Cigna, would have $115 billion in annual revenue—would be the largest.

Anthem’s other challenge is to convert enough of Cigna’s sales over to its Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names. If it doesn’t have two-thirds of its revenue coming from its Blue brands within two years of closing the deal, Anthem breaks its licensure agreements with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

—J.K. Wall

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