HCFO Researcher Quoted in Article on Proposed Health Insurer Mergers

Publication Date: 
November 21, 2016

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Samantha Liss describes the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to challenge the proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna, which the DOJ argues will reduce competition among insurance carriers in dozens of markets and increase costs for consumers. Liss quotes HCFO grantee Erin Trish, Ph.D., University of Southern California, about the potential effects of the merger and the insurers’ cost savings: “Generally, our findings would suggest that they don’t pass those savings on to consumers.” Trish also notes that while many consumers are worried about rising premiums, there’s research to show to premiums increase when there’s less competition among insurance carriers. In a HCFO-funded study, Trish and Brad Herring, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, explored the extent to which insurance concentration and its balance with hospital concentration affect health insurance premiums. They found that lower prices paid to providers were not passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.