California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones voiced concerns 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.”