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Largest medical association in US says Aetna, Cigna mergers ‘quash competition’

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CHICAGO — The American Medical Association said Wednesday that the proposed mergers between Aetna and Humana Healthcare, and Anthem and Cigna would effectively “quash the competition” in insurance markets in 24 states including Connecticut.

The AMA said in a report the mergers, if approved, “would significantly compromise market competition in the health insurance industry and threaten health care access, quality and affordability.” They said the the mergers would threaten health care access, quality and affordability. The AMA is the largest association of physicians and medical students in the United States.

“We continue to believe the combination of Aetna and Humana will improve the health care system and offer consumers more choices and greater access to higher quality, more affordable care. Our proposed transaction is primarily about the Medicare marketplace, where there is robust competition and choice,” said a spokesperson for Aetna.

The association said policy holders in 15 states would have a negative impact by the merger of Anthem and Cigna. The Aetna, Humana merger would impact 14 state negatively.  Some states would be impacted by both mergers.

The AMA said:

On an individual basis, the Anthem-Cigna merger would diminish competition in 121 metropolitan areas located throughout the 14 states where Anthem is licensed to provide commercial coverage, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Nine of these 14 states are working to block the Anthem-Cigna merger. States that have yet to take an antitrust position on the merger include: Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

A closer look at the Aetna-Humana merger shows the deal would diminish competition in 57 metropolitan areas located throughout 15 states, including: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Four of these 15 states are working to block the Aetna-Humana merger. States that have yet to take an antitrust position on the merger include: Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Justice Department and state agencies around the country have joined in efforts to block the proposed mergers on grounds they would hurt competition that restrains the price of coverage and lead to reduced benefits, among other drawbacks.

Aetna Inc. proposed last summer to buy Humana Inc. for $34 billion, while Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem Inc. moved to acquire Cigna Corp. for $48 billion.

As a result of the Justice Department  lawsuit, the state Insurance Department has suspended its review of the Cigna – Anthem merger application.

Connecticut, along  with the Department of Justice and other states, has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit seeking to stop the proposed merger of Anthem, Inc. and Cigna.

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