Aetna Officials Defend Move To Pull Out of Exchanges in Aetna-Humana Merger Case

The Justice Department accused Aetna officials of pulling out of ACA exchanges in three states because the Aetna officials believed that their presence in those exchanges would become an issue in the government’s antitrust lawsuit against the two companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Justice Department’s lawsuit focuses on 17 counties in Florida, Georgia, and Missouri. The deal would suppress competition for private Medicare plans, as well as the sale of individual insurance policies on ACA exchanges in those counties, the Justice Department argues.

In August, Aetna pulled out of 11 states a month after the Justice Department sued to block the $34 billion merger. Aetna officials countered that their decision to pull out of the exchanges had nothing to do with the pending litigation, but rather because they were losing money in the exchanges.

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s CEO, on Monday continued his testimony that he began last Friday, arguing that the company pulled back from the exchanges because of loses that could reach $350 million this year.

Jonathan Mayhew runs Aetna’s exchange business and was one of three other Aetna executives who said that they argued that the company should pull out of the exchanges altogether because it “has continued to deteriorate as the year has progressed,” according to the WSJ.

Under questioning, Mayhew admitted that “he had been told to keep strategy discussions about the 17 counties verbal so there wouldn’t be written communication that could be shared with the Justice Department during discovery for the litigation,” according to the WSJ.

Source: Washington Post