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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Delaware court that oversaw the trial between Anthem and Cigna over their botched health insurance merger expects to making a ruling on the lawsuit by the end of this month, Cigna CEO David Cordani told investors Thursday.

Why it matters: Whatever the resolution is, shareholders and people who get health insurance through the losing company ultimately will be stomaching a very large payout.

Where it stands: Anthem is alleging that Cigna owes $20 billion in damages, and Cigna is alleging that Anthem owes $13 billion in damages plus another $1.85 billion in merger termination fees.

Between the lines: Cordani told investors during Cigna's earnings call that the court will make a decision by the end of February, and said "we feel very strong about our position relative to our contractual responsibility and contractual ability to collect our break fee."

  • Anthem did not respond to a request for comment. But Cordani's mention of the $1.85 billion termination fee, and not the larger damages, raises questions about whether the court will put much weight to either company's claims of damages.

The bottom line: This is one of the wildest corporate fights in health care — a spat that involved accusations of sabotage and stealing health insurance customers.

  • Anthem and Cigna are still extremely profitable, with each insurer reporting 2019 earnings of about $5 billion.
  • But if either company has to pay maximum damages, multiyear profits would be erased, and employers and consumers who played no role in the feud could be on the hook for higher health care premiums and fees to make up for any payout.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.