Health insurance mergers would hurt competition in Missouri: Report

Proposed mergers of health insurers worth tens of billion of dollars would hurt competition in as many as 17 states, including Missouri, according to the American Medical Association, the country’s leading physicians’ organization.

Insurers Aetna Inc. and Anthem Inc. in July announced plans to acquire smaller health insurance firms. Both deals are being reviewed by federal regulators and state insurance officials.

The study said Anthem’s purchase of Cigna would affect competition in 14 states. Aetna’s buyout of Humana would raise concerns about competition in 14 states as well.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, consolidation has been the trend in the health insurance industry, peaking with this summer’s flurry or mergers. But the AMA says competition in the industry had already slumped dramatically between 2010 and 2013, with Missouri ranking fourth among the 50 states by decrease in health insurance competition.

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