Trending News Today: Government Urged to Halt Anthem-Cigna Merger

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones recently urged the federal government to stop the merger of Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp. Jones said this merger could result in higher costs, fewer choices for coverage, and poor quality of care, according to Kaiser Health News. The insurance department is not able to stop the merger, but the recommendation has the potential to stop the $54 billion merger if the federal government thinks it is anti-competitive.

The Senate recently eliminated a Medicare program that helps enrollees understand their plans and save money. They deemed the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and other similar programs to be unnecessary, and the money that funded these programs could be used for other things, according to Kaiser Health News. Eliminating SHIP will save $52 million that can potentially be used for other issues, such as treating opioid abuse.

Online tools that help patients pick physicians in their network and calculate costs is an idea that have been around for several years, but companies like Castlight Health are struggling to achieve their goals. The company stated that they have met resistance from health insurance companies, hospitals, and physicians when trying to obtain pricing information, according to The New York Times. However, the company’s executives believe that there are still improvements to be made, such as increasing the amount of patients shopping around for physicians.