Anthem Inc.'s $48 billion purchase of rival Cigna Corp. is set to create the nation's largest health insurance company.
The combination, in tandem with Aetna Inc.'s pending purchase of rival insurer Humana Inc., would leave three health insurers that would dominate the rapidly changing industry landscape in the U.S.
Sluggish growth in traditional employer-paid health care is combining with faster growth in government-sponsored health care such as Medicare or the subsidized plans created by the health care overhaul to make the companies seek mergers. They also hope to cut their own costs with increased purchasing power over drugmakers and health care providers.
Here's a look at the new "Big Three" that would be created if the acquisitions are completed (full-year revenue figures from 2014):
HEADQUARTERS: Anthem in Indianapolis; Cigna in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
COMBINED REVENUE: $109 billion.
COMBINED MEMBERS: About 53 million.
SPECIALTIES: Anthem runs Blue Cross plans in 14 states and specializes in selling group coverage to businesses It also has a large Medicaid business. Cigna specializes in employer plans, with a presence in Medicare Advantage.
HEADQUARTERS: Minnetonka, Minnesota.
REVENUE: $138.2 billion.
MARKET CAPITALIZATION: $112.4 billion.
MEMBERS: More than 41 million.
SPECIALTIES: The company's key strength is its position in the market for employer and individual plans. Its Optum health-management unit does large business in health care technology, information and pharmacy benefits management.
HEADQUARTERS: Aetna in Hartford, Connecticut; Humana in Louisville, Kentucky.
COMBINED REVENUE: $109.7 billion.
COMBINED MARKET CAPITALIZATION: $66 billion.
COMBINED MEMBERS: About 29.4 million.
SPECIALTIES: Aetna has a solid position in employer-funded health plans, including pharmacy-benefits management and dental plans. Humana's key focus is on government-funded health care plans and has a strong position in the Medicare Advantage market.