Friday, July 24, 2015

Anthem Gobbles Up Cigna [UPDATED]

As you've no doubt heard, Anthem has won this round of Carrier Feeding Frenzy '15:

"Earlier today, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s parent company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Cigna Corporation, under which our parent company will acquire Cigna in a cash and stock transaction. This transaction will accelerate the realization of our vision to be America’s valued health partner primary Single Payer Health Plan administrator."

Fixed for accuracy.

We'll have more on this in the coming days.

UPDATE: The folks over at Forbes have an interesting take:

"Though insurers say narrow provider lists allow them to keep costs low and ensure high quality doctors are on the menu of preferred providers and bad physicians are not, providers say they will be in greater danger of being shut out of a network if consumer choices dwindle."

This speaks to access, and once again puts the lie to the promise that "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Fewer carriers means, in this construction, fewer providers.

I'm not convinced that this is necessarily so: if one presumes that the Venn Diagram of Anthem's providers isn't a 100% overlap with Cigna's, it seems to me that this could potentially broaden at least some regional networks.

Forbes also addresses the affordability aspect of the merger as it relates to SCOTUScare:

"One of the main goals of the Affordable Care Act was to restore competition in the health insurance sector ...This consolidation will reverse these gains of the Affordable Care Act.”

Here I think they're on firmer ground: certainly, fewer players means less comptetion, and that in turn likely means higher rates.

Time will, of course, tell.
blog comments powered by Disqus