The wave of mergers and acquisitions in health care in the age of reform hasn’t stopped – and three top-notch health policy experts in a recent guest post in Forbes explain why we should worry about that.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has blocked the merger of Anthem and Cigna, the second court ruling this year against megamergers in the health insurance industry.
On Thursday, Anthem said it would appeal the Feb. 8 ruling promptly and request an expedited hearing. Cigna said it would review the decision and evaluate its options. Anthem has a financial incentive to appeal given that under the terms of the merger proposal, Anthem agreed to pay Cigna $1.85 billion if the deal fell apart. Continue reading
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Monday sided with the Department of Justice to block the merger of Aetna and Humana. The ruling is being called a victory for members of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, since Aetna and Humana — two of the nation’s largest health insurers would, as a combined company, have owned the biggest share of the Medicare Advantage market, The Wall Street Journal reported.
For journalists covering health insurance in their cities and states, there’s a story on how the merger would have affected competition in states where the two companies compete. Continue reading
It’s no secret that health care prices nationwide vary widely from one market to the next, and even within individual markets. A panel on hospital mergers during AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2016 conference in Cleveland will examine the many factors driving these variations in hospital prices. We’ll also discuss how consumers can shop more effectively for the lowest-priced care.
The session, “Merger mania of health providers and the rise of dominant and potential monopolies,” will be 4:40-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. Continue reading
Research from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that when hospitals have a monopoly in a market, prices are 15.3 percent higher than prices in hospitals where there are four or more hospitals, even after controlling for costs in those markets.
No doubt there’ll be lots of talk about hospital consolidations at AHCJ’s upcoming Health Journalism 16 conference in Cleveland. At one session in particular, Zack Cooper, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health policy and of economics at Yale University, will talk about the research he and his colleagues published last year on how hospital consolidations affect what hospitals charge consumers and insurers. Continue reading