>> When insurance giant Aetna announced earlier this week it would pull out of Obamacare markets in 11 states, many wondered about the timing, coming shortly after the US Department of Justice blocked the insurer's takeover of rival Humana. On Wednesday, the DOJ disclosed a letter from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini suggesting the two are closely linked.
Reuter's health care correspondent Caroline Humer.>> In this letter Mark Bertolini tied together the fact that if the Department of Justice challenged or blocked its deal to buy Humana that it was gonna have to walk away from the Obamacare exchanges because it was losing too much money there.
And without the so called, savings, that it anticipated from the deal, it just couldn't make it work. And when you look at a letter like this, that comes from a CEO to the Justice Department, it looks like a warning, it looks like a threat.>> But the letter was, in fact, a response to specific questions from the Justice Department sent June 30th.
>> Have gotten from the company the document in which the DOJ asked Aetna what would happen if they blocked and challenged the merger. And then the letter came.>> Health insurers long complained they saw fewer new customers than they expected under Obamacare and this summer said that their customer base was sicker than they budgeted for.
Making care more expensive and Aetna wasn't the only company effected.>> Now, we've had United Health decide to pull out, they were in two dozen states, three dozen states. Humana has decided to pull out. So Aetna's decision sort of follows along with some of these other ones. And that itself is going to be a blow to that market place.
>> The Justice Department blocks Aetna's take over of Humana in part because it said the merger would lead to higher prices.