Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana deals could reduce competition in 24 states: AMA

The American Medical Association conducted a study that found that the two acquisitions could have dire effects on the health insurance markets of nearly half of the country’s states

Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana deals could reduce competition in 24 states: AMA

Life & Health

By Lyle Adriano

In a recent press release, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced the results of a study that found that the health insurance deals between Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana would hinder competition in the health insurance market across 24 states.

The AMA is supporting the Department of Justice and its efforts to oppose the acquisitions; the federal agency filed lawsuits against the four involved companies claiming that the deals violate antitrust laws, among other reasons.

According to the AMA study, the Anthem-Cigna deal would cut down competition in 121 metropolitan areas across 14 states, while the Aetna-Humana one would reduce competition in 51 metropolitan areas in 15 states.

“The AMA analyses show that Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers would significantly compromise market competition in the health insurance industry and threaten health care access, quality and affordability,” said Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., AMA President, in a statement. “With existing competition in health insurance markets already at alarmingly low levels, federal and state antitrust officials have powerful reasons to block harmful mergers and foster a more competitive marketplace that will operate in patients' best interests.”

Specifically, the Anthem-Cigna merger would have reduced health insurer competition in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Of these states, five—Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin—have yet to take action against the merger.

On the other hand, the Aetna-Humana merger would similarly affect the health insurer competition in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Eleven of these states have yet to oppose the merger from proceeding.

“High-quality medical care is only possible if regulators enforce antitrust laws to prohibit harmful health insurance mergers that run counter to patients' best interests,” Gurman said. “It is clear that more can be done in certain states where the attorneys general have not yet taken a strong stance against the mergers. To ensure patients are better served by dynamic and competitive health insurance markets, the AMA will work to expand the bipartisan group of state attorneys general that has joined the Justice Department to block the massive deals.”

The study cited data from the Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets report to determine how much the carrier mergers would affect competition throughout the country.
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