Two health insurance rivals have mutually agreed to end a $34 billion merger agreement.
Aetna and Humana made the announcement on Tuesday in the wake of a ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The ruling granted a U.S. Department of Justice request to block the merger.
“While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna Chairman and CEO. “We are disappointed to take this course of action after 19 months of planning, but both companies need to move forward with their respective strategies in order to continue to meet member expectations."
Aetna, which is based in Hartford, said it will pay $1 billion as a result of the termination agreement.
Last month, a judge blocked the merger on antitrust grounds. The judge said it would reduce competition in the Medicare Advantage program.
Aetna said it has also ended a previously announced agreement to sell certain Medicare Advantage assets to Molina Healthcare.
More on the termination can be found on Aetna's website here.
The merger agreement was first announced in the summer of 2015, just before insurers Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. announced their own doomed plans to come together.
Anthem has since appealed the loss.
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