States Show Support for Blocking Health Insurer Mergers

Attorney generals from 8 states and the District of Columbia joined the lawsuit against large insurer mergers.

The Department of Justice lawsuit against the Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers has gained significant traction among states, with many of them joining the suit to stop the merger.

Thus far, 8 states and the District of Columbia have joined, and all express concern that the merger would negatively impact the healthcare system.

“Our office joined these 2 lawsuits because of our concerns that reduced competition in the healthcare marketplace will harm consumers,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a KIMT report. “We are troubled with the prospect that these mergers would substantially consolidate the industry, resulting in potentially higher premiums and reduced innovation.”

The Attorney General of the United States and attorney generals from Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia all allege that this merger would lead to higher costs, reduced benefits, less innovation, and poor quality of service. The lawsuit also states that it would likely cause problems for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, since they compete with each other to sell those plans.

It will also likely impact Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, since they are also competitors on that front as well, the lawsuit states. Other smaller insurers are not likely going to be able to fill the “innovative void” the merger of these 2 companies would cause.

This could prevent new programs to improve care and lower prices from being created. If the merger is allowed, it could increase Aetna’s profits while being detrimental to seniors who receive Medicare Advantage benefits, along with individuals and families who rely on ACA plans for affordable insurance, the lawsuit states.