Insurance Commissioner raises concerns about impacts of health insurance mergers on competition, choice and prices
News: 2015 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement today after Anthem Blue Cross announced plans to acquire Cigna Corporation:
"The Department of Insurance will carefully review the proposed merger of Anthem Blue Cross and Cigna Corporation, as well as the proposed mergers of other health insurers.
"California's health insurance market already suffers from consolidation, with the four largest health insurers in the individual market controlling more than 85 percent of the market. Further consolidation will result in even less competition among health insurers and will leave consumers and employers with fewer choices and the potential for greater premium increases. Studies of prior mergers of health insurers found that health insurance prices increased as a result of mergers.
"Health insurers are enjoying record share values and profits, which are paid for by consumers and employers. There is no requirement that any savings from these mergers be passed along to consumers or employers. In California, there is no authority to reject excessive health insurance rate increases, unlike 35 other states.
"We will review the mergers based on what is best for California consumers and employers. We will also work closely with other state and federal regulators."
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.