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Aetna’s plans to acquire Humana for over $30 billion has been halted following a ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Aetna and Humana each announced the mutual termination of the agreement. As part of the termination agreement, Aetna is paying Humana an estimated fee of $1 billion.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge John Bates blocked the merger citing that the combined organization would reduce competition in the Medicare Advantage market for seniors.

Mark Bertolini, Aetna Chairman and CEO said:

While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers … the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction … We are disappointed to take this course of action after 19 months of planning, but both companies need to move forward with their respective strategies in order to continue to meet member expectations.

In the State of Washington, this news will likely mean that consumers here will find more Medicare Advantage options for the foreseeable future.  This is especially true since both Aetna and Humana offer Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans today.

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