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Florida Joins Legal Fight Against Aetna-Humana Merger

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Pointing in part to concerns about the Medicare Advantage market for seniors, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday joined the U.S. Department of Justice and other states in filing an antitrust lawsuit seeking to block a $37 billion merger between the health insurers Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the merger "would lead to higher health insurance prices, reduced benefits, less innovation, and worse service for over a million Americans."

The lawsuit focuses in part on the effects on the Medicare Advantage market, with Bondi's office saying concerns in Florida particularly focused on Broward, Charlotte, Duval, Manatee, Martin, Polk, Sarasota, St. Johns and St. Lucie counties.

"Competition in our health insurance markets is crucial to keeping premiums down and the quality of care up, particularly when it comes to our seniors and other vulnerable populations, the individuals most affected by this proposed acquisition," Bondi said in a prepared statement. "It is important that we do everything we can to preserve competition in these markets."

But Aetna and Humana vowed to "vigorously" defend the proposed deal, which the companies said would be in the best interest of consumers.

"A combined company will result in a broader choice of products, access to higher quality and more affordable care, and a better overall experience for consumers," a statement posted on the Aetna website said.

"Aetna and Humana look forward to making this clear in court, where a judge will review the transaction based on its merits." The other states in the case are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, along with the District of Columbia.