But thanks to the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn and Jeff Young, we got a glimpse at how health insurer Aetna is making its case to acquire rival Humana — and new insight into Aetna’s decision announced Tuesday to pull out of Obamcare exchanges in 11 states.
The reporters obtained a copy of a letter from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini to the Justice Department on July 5. The letter was written while the government was still deciding whether to oppose the insurance companies’ merger on the grounds that it (and another proposed deal between Anthem and Cigna) would hurt consumers and reduce competition.
The Bertolini letter was in answer to a Department of Justice request for information about how a decision on the Humana deal would affect Aetna’s participation in the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.
The letter is pretty direct. If the government, moved to block the merger, then Aetna would begin to pull out of the health insurance exchanges.
Here’s the key paragraph (emphasis added):
The Huffington Post reporters calls the letter “a clear threat.”
A little more than two weeks later, on July 21, the Justice Department said it would sue to block the Aetna-Humana deal and the other proposed megamerger between Anthem and Cigna.
On Tuesday, Aetna said it would dramatically scale back its participation on the insurance exchanges in 2017. The company move would take it out of 546 counties in 11 states, leaving it active in 242 counties in four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.
Aetna said the pullback was a business decision stemming from a loss in the second quarter on individual plans and uncertainty about the policy outlook for the exchanges.
In the company’s statement, CEO Bertolini said, “As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the …