On February 10th, 2016, a number of major consumer groups and unions including Consumers Union, Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, District Council 37-AFSCME, and Consumer Action filed comments to Ohio Lieutenant Governor/Director Mary Taylor regarding the proposed mergers of Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana. The purpose of these comments was to raise concerns about the mergers and their impact on healthcare within Ohio. The parties noted a number of issues with the mergers including potential higher premiums for consumers. Here are some of the specific points raised:
Ohio law gives the Department of Insurance and the Director extensive powers to investigate insurance mergers, and to hold public hearings to access their competitive impact. The Department should hold two hearings, one for each merger.
These mergers would substantially reduce competition in Ohio in a number of different insurance products including commercial, ASO, and Medicare Advantage markets. A combination of Anthem and Cigna would create a company with just under 60% share of the ASO market, and a combination of Aetna and Humana would have a 50% market share in Medicare Advantage.
These acquisitions will also render it more difficult for new competitors to enter the health insurance markets. In Ohio, entry on the health exchange or within the Medicare Advantage market has been very limited, and there has been no evidence of entry on other markets.
To see the full comments submitted to Lieutenant Governor/Director Taylor, click here.
Additionally, the Columbus Dispatch wrote an article about consumer concerns regarding the mergers and the Ohio Department of Insurance’s review.