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California Regulators’ Split View of Health Insurance Mergers

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Two mega-mergers in the health insurance industry are sparking intense debate over cost and competition.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has criticized both deals — Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana — as being anti-competitive, and he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to block the mergers on antitrust grounds. Jones has questioned whether policyholders will see much of the savings these companies tout in their proposed acquisitions.

But California’s other insurance regulator, Shelley Rouillard at the Department of Managed Health Care, approved the Aetna deal with a condition that the company try to keep future rate increases to a minimum. She hasn’t weighed in on Anthem’s merger.

Meanwhile, another key regulator reviewing the deals — Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade — has come under scrutiny because of her extensive ties to Cigna.

Chad Terhune of California Healthline discussed these developments, and the potential impact of industry mergers on consumers and market competition, last Friday on WNPR’s “Where We Live” in Connecticut.

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