A week after its $54 billion merger with Cigna Corp. was shot down for a second time, national health insurer Anthem said it is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review its case.
Indianapolis-based Anthem announced early Friday morning that it will file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the nation's high court, seeking review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's majority decision handed down last week.
The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling from February that blocked the two insurers from merging on grounds that the combination would harm competition, particularly in the national employer market.
There is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will hear Anthem's case. The court receives 7,000 to 8,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari each term and hears oral arguments for just 80 cases.
In a statement Friday, Anthem said the “1960s-era merger precedents relied upon by the courts below must be updated to reflect the modern understanding of economics and consumer benefit.”
Anthem cited the split in the appeals court, in which dissenting Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the merger would provide cost savings for the large employers that obtain insurance services from Anthem and Cigna.
But the majority opinion concluded that Anthem didn't show the “extraordinary efficiencies necessary to offset the conceded anticompetitive effect of the merger in the 14 Anthem states: the loss of Cigna.”
Anthem reiterated that the appeals court's decision would deprive millions of Americans of quality care and more than $2 billion in medical costs savings annually.
Customer gains in Cigna Corp.'s commercial employer business helped boost profit by 15.2% in the first quarter of 2017.
The Bloomfield, Conn.-based insurer recorded profit of $598 million in the three months ending March 31 compared with the same period a year ago.
Cigna has been a reluctant merger partner, and sued Anthem in February for nearly $15 billion and the right to exit the merger agreement. A preliminary injunction hearing in the Delaware Court of Chancery is scheduled for Monday.
Cigna's revenue increased by 5.1% in the first quarter to $10.4 billion year over year.
Its medical membership totaled 15.7 million, up 4% since the same time last year. Cigna added members in its commercial employer business, but lost them in its government business, which primarily includes Medicare Advantage customers.
The company's commercial medical care ratio was 77.6%, while government medical care ratio was 85.9% for first quarter.