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Anthem/Cigna outspend Aetna/Humana in 3rd quarter lobbying as their merger trials near

Anthem and Cigna spent a combined $3.4 million, double the $1.2 million spent by Aetna and Humana.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

The four insurers fighting the Department of Justice's attempt to block their mergers spent $4.6 million in lobbying efforts for the third quarter, according to disclosure statements filed with the government.

Anthem and Cigna spent a combined $3.4 million, double the $1.2 million spent by Aetna and Humana.

Anthem's proposed $54 billion takeover of Cigna is seen by experts to be the tougher court battle due to larger antitrust concerns. 

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[Also: Humana, Cigna star ratings fall, dragging down stocks for merger partners]

Anthem spent $2.4 billion and Cigna $1.05 million, in the third quarter for lobbying on a host of healthcare policies. However, the reports showed that lobbying also focused on antitrust concerns related to their mergers, according to the Oct. 20 filing. The court case to decide the merger's fate starts November 21.

The argument over anticompetitive concerns in the proposed $37 billion consolidation between Aetna and Humana appears to hinge on whether Medicare Advantage is seen as a separate product from Medicare.

Medicare Advantage revenues are expected to grow significantly as baby boomers retire. Currently, Humana and UnitedHealth, the nation's largest insurer, control more than 10 percent of the MA market, according to Nasdaq.

[Also: Court sides with DOJ on merger letters]

The Aetna/Humana merger trial is scheduled to start on December 5.

The disclosure filing did not break down the specific amounts spent for each lobbying issue, and lobbying interests went beyond merger concerns.

Anthem lobbying activities include issues relating to Affordable Care Act implementation, reinsurance, age rating bands in the individual health insurance market, ACA special enrollment periods, third party payments, grace periods and notice of benefit and payment parameters regulations, mental health and substance abuse, health reimbursement arrangements, telehealth, price of prescription drugs, military healthcare and fraud, waste and abuse and other issues.

[Also: Feds accuse Aetna/Humana attempting to derail merger challenge by blocking CMS defendants]

Anthem had five lobbyists working on healthcare competition issues associated with the proposed acquisition of Cigna. Cigna had six lobbyists working on the issue.

Aetna had four lobbyists listed in the third quarter filing working on the transaction while Humana had three. 

Twitter: @SusanJMorse