Merger concerns for consumers and decreased competition may be averted
July 21, 2016
DENVER – Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust division moved to protect consumers by filing lawsuits to block both major health insurance mergers between Anthem and Cigna, and Aetna and Humana. The DOJ has found that these mergers would be anticompetitive and harm consumers. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) applauds the DOJ’s action to protect consumers and competition in the health insurance market.
“These major mergers posed a real threat to insurer competition while providing no tangible benefit to consumers,” said Adam Fox, CCHI director of strategic engagement. “The claims that these large mergers will translate to lower costs or better quality for consumers seems dubious, and the DOJ’s action confirms this.”
These two mergers would transform the biggest five health insurance companies nationwide into three mega-insurers, decreasing market competition between carriers and raising concerns of consumer harm and higher costs.
“We hope these lawsuits from the DOJ will send a signal to the health care industry that if companies pursue these large mergers, they will need to clearly guarantee a merger will benefit consumers, not just their shareholders,” said CCHI’s Adam Fox.
This action by the DOJ may encourage state regulators, including the Colorado Division of Insurance, to take a harder stance against these mergers and others that may follow in the future. As the trend toward mergers and consolidation in health care continue, CCHI will be carefully monitoring developments to ensure consumer interests are being protected.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members and advocates for access to affordable, high-quality, and equitable healthcare for all Coloradans.