With Megamerger Saga Finally Over, What’s Next in M&A?

The climate for payer mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has cooled substantially at a national level ever since the collapse of the proposed deals between Anthem, Inc. and Cigna Corp. and between Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc., and experts say transactions of that scale and type are unlikely to return. However, consolidation in the provider sector has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as such firms grapple with the rapid collapse of fee-for-service revenue — and experts say that cash-rich payers may start to expand their businesses into areas including care delivery, technology and retail.

Unlike Aetna and Humana, which amicably ended their deal after losing an antitrust challenge brought by the Dept. of Justice, the breakdown of Anthem’s bid to acquire Cigna got ugly — resulting in a public spat and dueling lawsuits over Cigna’s attempt to exit their agreement before exhausting the firms’ option to appeal a federal ruling against the transaction.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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