California seeks to crack down on insurance mergers

The California Assembly is considering a bill that would require insurance companies receive state approval before they can merge or acquire other health plans, following recent judicial blocks of large health insurance carriers.

The bill passed the Assembly Health Committee this week. It was introduced in February, shortly after federal judges blocked the marriages of Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana.

Currently, health plan mergers and acquisitions are approved by the California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who has been outspoken about premium hikes by insurers.

The bill would allow the state’s Department of Managed Health Care to approve any mergers or acquisitions of health plans that operate in the state, in addition to the insurance commissioner signoff.

California has a concentrated health care insurance market, and in some rural areas there are few plans available.

Recent mergers in the state include Blue Shield of California’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Care1st Health Plan in 2015 as well as Centene’s $6 billion purchase of Health Net.

Read the full story at Modern Healthcare: California proposes bill to crack down on insurance mergers – Modern Healthcare

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