U.S. DOJ move to block health insurer mergers consistent with CA commissioner’s recommendation
News: 2016 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement, following the announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice to block the mergers of major health insurers:
"I'm very pleased with the U.S. Department of Justice action today to block these mergers because they are anti-competitive and would harm consumers and businesses. As insurance commissioner of the largest insurance market in the country, I urged the DOJ to prevent both of these health insurance mergers, which if approved would have resulted in a highly concentrated, less competitive health insurance market doing irreparable harm to consumers and businesses. I applaud California Attorney General Kamala Harris for joining in the DOJ action to block the Anthem merger, which would have reduced competition in California's already highly concentrated health insurance market—leading to higher costs and lower quality for consumers.
"During the public hearings I convened, I questioned executives from Anthem, Cigna, Aetna and Humana. None of the companies were able to adequately substantiate their claims of savings associated with the mergers. Not one company executive was willing to commit to pass along alleged cost savings to consumers through lower premiums. Bigger is not better when it comes to health insurance mergers. History has shown that health insurance mergers result in higher prices, fewer choices, and lower quality of care."
Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was the only insurance commissioner in the country to recommend U.S. Department of Justice block both mergers.
Commissioner Jones formally submitted detailed written findings of fact and law to the Department of Justice opposing the mergers of Anthem and Cigna and Aetna with Humana. Jones took this action after holding lengthy public hearings on both mergers. One other insurance commissioner, John Huff of Missouri, opposed the Aetna and Humana merger in his state.
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.