NewsHealth / September 22, 2016

AMA Report: Insurance Mergers Harmful

Indiana is one of 14 states where a single insurer holds at least 50 percent of the insurance, Anthem-Cigna merger, American Medical Association, Competition in Health Insurance study2016-09-22T00:00:00-04:00
AMA Report: Insurance Mergers Harmful

A new report from the American Medical Association finds two potential mergers of major health insurance companies would be harmful to the health of Indiana’s insurance marketplace.  The Hoosier state is one of 14 where a single insurer holds at least 50 percent of the market.

Fourteen Indiana metro areas were examined in the annual Competition in Health Insurance study from the American Medical Association.

AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman says in Indiana, Anthem is the largest insurer with 57 percent of the commercial insurance market and even higher in certain areas.

"Anthem has 75 percent of the commercial market in Terra Haute.  If Anthem is allowed to merge with Cigna it will have a near monopoly there with 85 percent of the commercial health care market," Gurman says. 

The Anthem/Cigna and Aetna/Humana mergers are on hold pending a lawsuit led by the Department of Justice.  The government argues that the acquisition will cause a harmful reduction in competition.  

Gurman agrees. "There are now five major insurance companies and that would bring them to three," he says. "High quality medical care is only possible if regulators enforce anti-trust laws to prohibit harmful health insurance mergers that run counter to patients’ best interests."

The insurance companies say the deal will help patients but Gurman says past mergers have shown the opposite.

"Premiums go up, benefits go down and networks that are already narrow will probably get narrower," Gurman notes. 

A number of states have joined the DOJ effort to block the mergers. Indiana is not one of them.




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