Sources say a $48 billion deal could be announced as early as this week. A deal would face regulatory scrutiny amid the industry's consolidation. Fred Katayama reports.
Another health insurance mega-merger at hand: Anthem is close to sealing a $48 billion deal to buy Cigna. Sources say the announcement could come as early as this week. A combined company would rank second in revenue to United Health, the industry's largest. This development comes just weeks after Aetna's $37 billion deal to purchase Humana and one month after Cigna played hard-to-get, rejecting Anthem's original offer. Sources say Anthem and Cigna have resolved their differences over price and leadership. Anthem upped its ante, and Cigna's CEO has agreed to let Anthem's chief lead the combined company. Fueling these mergers: President Obama's healthcare law that makes it tougher for insurers to pass on higher costs to consumers and the drive by insurers to negotiate better prices with doctors and hospitals. But there may be more negotiations to come: Any deal would face rigorous scrutiny from regulators. The completion of both deals would shrink the number of players in the U.S. health insurance sector from five to three. Cigna shares jumping in early trading, adding on to their nearly 57 percent gain this year.