Cigna Merger with Anthem in Doubt

It appears less and less likely that the proposed merger between healthcare insurers Anthem and Cigna will take place. The Wall Street Journal has obtained some letters between the general counsels of both companies that reveal problems and bickering. According to the Journal, the letters reveal Anthem’s accusation that Cigna has missed deadlines for submitting data and that the information it did submit was in the wrong format. Cigna responded by saying that its documents took so long to approve, because “the flaws in the Anthem draft white papers are too numerous to catalogue [sic] fully.”

As a Cigna HealthSpring Medicare Advantage customer, I can testify that Cigna is far from having its ducks in a row. Its computer systems continue to be only partially functional and do not communicate well with each other.

Recently I received an email from Cigna asking me to take a survey. There were two questions in the online survey, both asking if I was aware that certain information is available to me on my.cigna.com. The only choices for answers were yes and no, and I had to answer no to both questions. It is not that I am unaware of what information is available on the site; the information in my account is not there at all. It seems bizarre that Cigna would ask me if I were aware of the availability of nonexistent information, and in my opinion this is evidence that Cigna’s internal mess is far from being resolved.

Wall Street is also showing its doubts about the merger. Cigna shares closed yesterday at $126.15 a share, well below Anthem’s offer of $188 per share in cash and stock. Anthem’s market value has also been falling. Doubts center not only around the internal dysfunction in both companies but also around doubts that the merger will receive regulatory approval. The two companies compete for health insurance contracts from large US business, and there are fears that their merger could put a damper on competition in this market.

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