Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Maryland residents march for the human right to health care in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Maryland residents march for the human right to health care in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Insurance Giant's Proposed Merger Could Devastate Access to Health Care

Industry giant Anthem proposed Saturday to buy rival Cigna for $47 billion

Sarah Lazare

One of the largest health insurance giants in the country, Anthem, on Saturday proposed a $47 billion merger with its competitor Cigna, part of an industry-wide merger bonanza that analysts warn could have a devastating impact on health care cost and access nationwide.

The public proposal comes as the top five U.S. insurance companies—UnitedHealth Group Inc., Anthem Inc., Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc.—race to consolidate in what Bloomberg recently called a "five-way dating drama" and the Wall Street Journal referred to as an "oligopoly wave."

In a letter to the the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month, the American Association of Family Physicians expressed deep concerns "about the potential merger of any of the nation's largest health insurance companies and the impact such actions would have on access and affordability of health care for consumers across the nation."

Stop!

We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!

Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.

Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slowly - only 819 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you now.
Please make a tax-deductible gift to our Mid-Year Fundraiser now!

"Bigger insurance companies mean increased leverage and unfair power over negotiating rates with hospitals and physicians," the organization continued. "More often than not, consolidation increases costs and reduces options for consumers and we believe this would hold true in the health insurance market."

Dave Jones, California's top insurance regulator, echoed these warnings in an interview this week with the L.A. Times: "Generally speaking, further consolidation in the health insurance industry is not a good thing for consumers, employers or medical providers. It means the potential for future price increases as a result of less competition."

A report (pdf) released last year by the Commonwealth Fund finds that the U.S. health care system is already the most expensive in the world yet delivers the worse care among 11 industrialized nations. Many are calling for a universal, publicly-funded health care system to replace the for-profit model behind this dismal performance.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Agrees to Resign

"It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister. But it should have happened long ago," said Labour Leader Keir Starmer. "He was always unfit for office."

Jake Johnson ·


Fulton County Subpoenas of Trump Allies Offer Hope 'That Justice Will Ultimately Be Served'

"The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·


Russian Official Makes Nuclear Threat Over US Support for Ukraine War Crimes Probe

Another official responded to Western sanctions by suggesting that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·


Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo