Health

Louisville-based Humana and Aetna, the Connecticut company seeking to acquire it, announced Tuesday morning they were selling off parts of their Medicare Advantage businesses.

The move is an attempt by the two companies to satisfy concerns from the U.S. Department of Justice that Aetna’s $37 billion acquisition of Humana would reduce competition and raise prices for consumers.

The sale — contingent on federal approval of the Aetna-Humana merger — would move some 290,000 Medicare Advantage patients in 21 states from the two companies to Molina Healthcare for $117 million in cash.

The Justice Department filed suit last month to block the Aetna-Humana merger, as well as Anthem’s proposed buyout of Cigna, citing antitrust concerns. Taken together, the two deals would consolidate the top five U.S. health insurers to three.

“We believe that these divestitures taken together would address the Department of Justice’s perceived competitive concerns regarding Medicare Advantage,” said Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini in a news release Tuesday morning. “We are confident in Molina’s ability to deliver continued access to quality care for our members in these areas.”

Aetna and Humana have said they plan to fight the federal lawsuit.

Humana employs more than 12,000 people in Louisville.