September 23, 2016

Senators Renew Questions About Aetna's Billion-Dollar Break-up Fee and Decision to Leave ACA Exchanges After DOJ Challenged Merger with Humana

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - In a letter sent to Aetna's CEO today, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) renewed their request for information about the company's decision to withdraw from the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care exchanges after the Department of Justice (DOJ) challenged Aetna's proposed merger with Humana. The senators previously requested the information in a letter sent to Aetna on September 8th; however, Aetna's response neglected to answer any of the 12 questions asked.

"We are disappointed by your failure to respond in a meaningful way. Your lack of cooperation does not mollify our concern that Aetna appears to be attempting to force the Justice Department into approving its controversial merger by threatening access to coverage for millions of Americans," wrote the senators.

The senators noted that despite the serious legal risk that the proposed Aetna-Humana merger would not be approved, Aetna agreed to pay Humana $1 billion if the acquisition was not completed by the end of 2016. "Our September 8th letter included a number of questions about the nature of Aetna's ‘unrecoverable costs' and asked why, despite the risks to shareholders and to insured customers, Aetna included them as a condition of the Humana merger deal. Your response did not address a single one of those questions," the senators wrote. 

The senators' letter again asks Aetna to respond to their questions about its pursuit of the merger with Humana and about its decisions related to participation in the federal exchanges.

A PDF copy of today's letter is available here.