State: Anthem is slow to provide information about proposed health insurance merger with Cigna

  • Anthem blue Cross Blue Shield logo Courtesy—Anthem BCBS

Monitor staff
Published: 7/8/2016 1:35:54 AM

The state review of a proposed merger between health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna is being delayed because Anthem has thus far provided “incomplete” information to state requests.

“To date, Anthem has made preliminary, and incomplete, responses to the department’s information request,” says a June 30 report filed by the analysis team of the Insurance Department as part of the state’s review.

Because of the inadequate level of information from Anthem, the review process has been halted, and no public hearing for the $48 billion merger scheduled.

State law says Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny must approve such mergers following an examination of finances of the companies involved as well as the proposal’s effect on the competitive marketplace. The federal government is also reviewing the merger and may rule as early as this month.

As noted in the Insurance Department analysts’ report, there are a half-dozen criteria that the commissioner considers in making the judgment. They range from very specific, such as “competence, experience, and/or integrity of those persons controlling the operation of the insurer,” to the very general, such as “other likelihood of hazard or prejudice to the insurance-buying public.”

The issue most likely to come up in the proposed $48 billion merger is whether it involves “substantial lessening of competition in insurance in the state or tendency to create a monopoly.”

An analysis from the American Medical Association said the merger would affect New Hampshire more than any other state. The AMA said the combined company would control nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire’s health insurance market, potentially in violation of federal antitrust guidelines.

The team also says in its report that it will try to make public some or all of what is known as Form E, the portion of Anthem’s application that looks at the merger’s effect on the state’s health insurance marketplace. Some of that material can be considered proprietary and thus making it public will require discussion between Anthem and the state.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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