Feb 7, 2020 - Health

Decision on Anthem-Cigna lawsuit is imminent

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,731,837 — Total deaths: 356,606 — Total recoveries — 2,376,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,703,989 — Total deaths: 100,651 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  4. Business: U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter — 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  5. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  6. ⚽️ Sports: English Premier League set to return June 17.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.