Anthem to acquire Cigna for $54B

Insurance company Anthem has entered into an agreement to acquire global health service company Cigna in a transaction valued at more than $54 billion

Anthem will cover almost 53 million medical members when the transaction closes, expected sometime in 2016 after regulatory approvals, according to the companies.

"We are very pleased to announce an agreement that will deliver meaningful value to consumers and shareholders through expanded provider collaboration, enhanced affordability and cost of care management capabilities, and superior innovations that deliver a high-quality healthcare experience for consumers," stated Joseph Swedish, president and CEO of Anthem, in a press release. "These expanded capabilities will enable us to better serve our customers as their healthcare needs evolve."

The acquisition should "not alter the day-to-day operations or the current responsibilities of the dentists in our network," a company representative told via email. Dentists in the Anthem network "will continue to be required to meet the participation requirements in their provider contracts, and our dedicated dental network services team is committed to maintaining our service standards as we move forward with the Cigna acquisition."

At present, more than "98,000 unique dentists" participate in an Anthem network, according to the company, serving more than 9 million patients.

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