Health insurer Anthem’s recent announcement that it will acquire Cigna in a $54.2 billion deal is continuing a consolidation trend that could reduce the number of major insurance companies in the US from 5 to 3. And while the nuts and bolts of the deal are plain enough, when it comes to speculation on what it will mean for consumers and providers, there’s less consensus.
What’s known is this: the multibillion dollar acquisition will make the Anthem-Cigna combination the country’s largest private health insurer in terms of members, with an estimated 53 million people covered. Revenues for the new company are projected at $115 billion annually.
Anthem’s acquisition comes on the heels of a July 3 merger announcement from insurance giants Aetna and Humana, meaning that if federal regulators approve both deals, the country’s 5 major private insurance companies will be reduced to 3, United Healthcare being the third. Pending regulatory approvals, the Anthem-Cigna deal will close in late 2016.