NCMS Closely Monitoring Proposed Health Insurance Mergers

The proposed mergers between health insurance giants Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna have been much in the news lately as company representatives have appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and were sharply questioned by committee members on what the impact of the mergers would mean to doctors and patients.

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) along with our national partners, The Physicians Foundation, PAI and the American Medical Association (AMA) are investigating a variety of avenues to address our members’ concerns over this merger and the resulting concentration of market share in the health insurance industry.  Watch the Bulletin and our website for updates on this matter.

The mergers are under review by the Justice Department’s anti-trust division. While Congress has no role in the decision over whether to allow the mergers, lawmakers can try to influence Justice Department officials and rally public opinion.

The AMA recently released a study of the issues surrounding the merger. In written testimony to the committee, AMA President-elect Andrew Gurman said “the AMA’s analysis shows there has been a near total collapse of competition among health insurers. Health insurance markets are already mostly highly concentrated, meaning that typically there are few sellers and they possess significant market shares. Thus, most health insurance markets are no longer competitive, while the national market in which large employers purchase coverage is also shrinking.”

A recent blog post in Forbes by The Physicians Foundation President Walker Ray, MD, and the Foundation’s first president and former Connecticut State Medical Society Executive Director Tim Norbeck outlines the concerns physicians and consumers have with the mergers. Read the post.

 
 

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