17 State Legislators Send Letter to CT Insurance Commissioner Requesting Transparency and Accountability of Proposed Health Insurance Mergers; New Polling Data Shows Connecticut Voters Very Concerned

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May 25, 2016

The Connecticut Campaign for Consumer Choice and State Representative Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield) today released a letter sent to CT Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade from 17 state legislators asking for a thorough review process of proposed insurance mergers.  The organization also released new poll results showing that Connecticut voters are very concerned about the mergers.  A copy of the letter, poll results and poll analysis are attached.

In their letter to the Commissioner, the legislators pressed for multiple public hearings to be held across the state, for consumer advocates to be granted intervenor status in the proceedings and to commission a study of the impact the mergers will have on Connecticut jobs.

“Given the potential impact on the health insurance of families throughout Connecticut, it’s very concerning that polling shows most consumers have not heard about the proposed merger. People need to be made aware that this is happening, and they must be given a chance to provide input,” Rep. Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield) said. “That’s why my colleagues and I have submitted a list of requests that would help ensure this process is open and transparent.”

"We applaud these legislators for standing up for what all of us already know; this merger is likely to leave a negative impact on household budgets, people's health and jobs in the state,” stated Frances Padilla, President of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

“The overwhelming majority of Connecticut voters are concerned that these mergers will have a detrimental impact on the cost and quality of health care in Connecticut.  There is also a concern that these mergers will lead to job losses in Connecticut,” said Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling who conducted the poll of 834 Connecticut voters last week.

“Aetna’s announcement last week that they are not committed to staying here should be a wake-up call to the Connecticut Insurance Department,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group.  “We call upon Commissioner Wade and the Department to ensure that Connecticut jobs are protected as part of the review process.”

Matthew Katz, EVP/CEO of the Connecticut State Medical Society, expressed concern about the impact of the mergers on Connecticut’s already-concentrated insurance market:

“If the proposed mergers take place, we’re going to see an unprecedented level of monopolistic and monopsonistic power. Roughly 64% of the Connecticut insurance market would be controlled by one company [Anthem-Cigna] – and in some areas of the state, it would be closer to 70-75%. 

It’s pretty clear that these record levels of market concentration will result in higher prices for patients and employers. It’s also unrealistic to think that physicians would be able to negotiate competitive reimbursement rates in such a hyper-concentrated environment. If a mega-insurer is paying below market rates, and 70% of your patients are covered by that insurer, you can’t continue to see patients and sustain your practice.             

Past experience suggests that these mergers will result in higher costs and reduced access to care for Connecticut patients.”

The proposed Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers are likely to have a negative impact on both the cost and quality of care in Connecticut, permanently changing our state’s health care system for patients, physicians and other stakeholders. The Connecticut Insurance Department has not yet scheduled a public hearing on the Anthem-Cigna merger, and the nation’s eyes are on Connecticut.

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