Jul 25, 2015 1:51 PM

Anthem purchase of Cigna would create largest insurer in the U.S.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Anthem is buying rival Cigna for $48 billion in a deal that would create the nation's largest health insurer by enrollment, covering about 53 million U.S patients, including those in N.H.

In just three weeks, starting with Aetna's $35 billion bid for Humana Inc. on July 3, the landscape of U.S. health care has been altered in a buyout frenzy that could transform five massive U.S. health companies into just three, including UnitedHealth Group.

Larger insurers have negotiating power to squeeze better rates from drug companies and health care providers. But the wave of consolidation could lead to fewer choices for consumers in certain markets. Regulators scrutinizing the two mega-deals will be trying to assess whether these combined companies would have so much power that they could dominate markets and drive already high health-care costs even higher.

Employer-sponsored health insurance is growing slowly and with the recent overhaul of the nation's health care system, providers are jostling for the largest share of the millions of people who have signed up.

The deal announced Friday is valued at $54.2 billion including debt. Shareholders of Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, will receive $103.40 per share in cash and 0.5152 shares of Anthem stock for each of their shares. The companies put the total value at $188 per share.


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