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March 23, 2016

CT coalition seeks more transparency on insurance mergers

Three community and professional organizations have joined together to request greater transparency and accountability of proposed health insurance mergers by the state Department of Insurance.

The new coalition, which calls itself the Connecticut Campaign for Consumer Choice, is made up of the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; and, Connecticut State Medical Society. It wants the insurance department to increase scrutiny and public input regarding major healthcare mergers.

The group said in a statement the proposed Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers are likely to have a negative impact on both the cost and quality of care in Connecticut. The coalition claims it could permanently change the state’s healthcare system for patients, physicians and other stakeholders.

In a written statement, Anthem said "Expanding access to affordable health coverage is the foundation of our combination with Cigna and will remain Anthem’s top priority. Anthem and Cigna have limited overlap in a highly competitive industry, and together will be in a better position to improve consumer choice and quality. Additionally, we will be better able to manage the cost drivers that negatively impact affordability for consumers."

The Anthem-Cigna merger is valued at $54.2 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016, pending federal and state regulatory approvals.

The Aetna-Humana merger is valued at $37 billion. It requires the approval of 20 state insurance departments. Half had approved by last month. The deal still needs approval from Connecticut insurance regulators and the Department of Justice, which the insurer said may require it to divest certain businesses in some states.

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