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Health Insurer Consolidation Under Scrutiny

Consolidation in the health insurance industry is being scrutinized by Congress, consumer advocates and industry stakeholders.

The issue isn’t a new one, but two new proposed mergers — one between Anthem and Cigna and another between Aetna and Humana — have increased the volume of the debate this summer and fall.

This summer, Anthem announced plans to acquire Cigna for $48.4 billion. The combined company would have about 53 million customers, making it the nation’s largest health insurer. Aetna announced plans to buy Humana for $37 billion, making it the second-largest insurer with about 33 million customers.

A U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing earlier this month sparked some animated exchanges concerning the Affordable Care Act’s effects on health insurance mergers.

More hearings on the issue are planned this fall in the Senate and the House.

We asked legislators, consumer advocates and stakeholders to point out the pros and cons of consolidation. We asked them how lawmakers and policy experts should proceed in order to provide the most benefit for consumers.

We got responses from: