Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the question of premium subsidy constitutionality, the way may be clear for a major insurance industry consolidation move.

Soon after the court's ruling this week, Wall Street analysts turned their laser focus on carriers Aetna, Humana and Cigna. These three have been doing the merger/acquisition dance for months, as they maneuver to do what's best for their shareholders in an extremely volatile market.

Humana, the primary target of potential buyers, saw its stock shoot up in double-digit fashion again late this week following the court ruling. Shares soared above $200 in early trading Friday.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.