NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anthem Inc <ANTM.N> on Thursday said it extended the deadline for its acquisition of Cigna Corp <CI.N> by three months as it awaits a federal court ruling on the U.S. government's lawsuit to block the deal.


Anthem, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans in 14 states, is trying to buy smaller rival Cigna. The government sued seven months ago to stop the deal, saying it was anti-competitive.


Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has not yet issued an opinion on the case. The trial began late last year, and Cigna said it ended on Jan. 4.


Anthem said in a regulatory filing that as permitted by its merger agreement with Cigna, it would extend the deadline for completion of the deal from Jan. 31 to April 30, regardless of the outcome of the court proceedings.


Cigna said in a statement that it had received notice of Anthem's extension and that it would evaluate its options after the court ruling.


(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)