HCFO Researcher Quoted in Blog on Proposed Health Insurer Mergers

Publication Date: 
March 29, 2016

Consumer groups and unions have been voicing their concerns over the proposed Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers. In a piece for the Plunderbund blog, John Michael Spinelli discusses the Ohioan groups that have asked Lt. Governor Mary Taylor to hold hearings on the matter to evaluate the impact of the mergers on competition within different health care markets. These groups have argued that competition between health insurers is essential to ensuring high quality, affordable care with ample choice and access. The post quoted HCFO grantee Erin Trish, University of Southern California, on the effect of mergers on consumers: “When insurers merge, there’s almost always an increase in premiums,” but she added that “consolidation among insurers could mean a stronger position in negotiating lower rates with hospitals.” In her HCFO-funded study, Trish and Bradley Herring, Johns Hopkins University, found that lower prices paid to providers were not passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.