Anthem Inc. has used the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names as a powerful tool on its way to becoming the nation’s second-largest health insurer. But those Blue brands now are a hurdle for Anthem’s $54.2 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly and Co. executive who was hospitalized twice this week, has hired Jim Parker, president and CEO of MDwise and a former longtime executive at Anthem Inc.
Investors appeared emboldened by remarks from a Justice Department lawyer Friday that the government was willing to hear settlement offers in its antitrust case involving the merger of the two insurers.
The Obama administration’s top health official is promoting the importance of competition to insurance markets, as the Justice Department is poised to decide on the massive Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana merger proposals.
Lots of investors are betting health insurance giants Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. won’t ever make it to the altar—an outlook driven by concerns antitrust regulators or other obstacles will prevent consummating the $45 billion deal.