Judge to fast-track Aetna-Humana merger case for year-end deadli - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge to fast-track Aetna-Humana merger case for year-end deadline

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Humana has a Digital Experience Center in downtown Louisville, Ky. Humana has a Digital Experience Center in downtown Louisville, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  A federal judge in Washington, D.C. will try to accommodate Aetna and Humana’s request for a trial on their embattled merger in the next few months, which gives the companies a shot of closing the $37 billion deal by their Dec. 31 deadline.

U.S. District Judge John Bates said in a court filing Friday that he will honor the companies’ request for a decision in the case by the end of the year “to the extent reasonable.”

But he did not guarantee he could stick to Aetna and Humana’s proposed timeline calling for a “mid-fall” trial, which the companies said should last two weeks.

The Justice Department, which sued on July 21 to block the deal, had argued that the case not go to trial until February 2017.

Meanwhile, Bates said he would refer the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the other big health insurance merger – Anthem’s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna – to another judge in the U.S. District Court in D.C.

Anthem and Cigna have an April 30, 2017 deadline to consummate their deal, and Bates said he could resolve both cases in such a short period.

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