Getting smart on provider and insurance consolidation in health care

By Rosana Garcia

casual_idea0001.jpgWith all the mergers and consolidations in health care, what will happen to the consumer? As we know, provider consolidation, in the form of hospital systems acquiring other hospitals and medical practices, has been a concern in Connecticut (the Tenet deal last year, the current pending acquisition of L+M Hospital by Yale New Haven Health System). There is also concern about the proposed mergers of insurance companies–Anthem’s plan to purchase Cigna, and Aetna’s plan to purchase Humana. (Jill Zorn’s blogs have recently discussed these mergers).

Consumers Union’s Health Care Value Hub recently held a webinar on “Plan and Provider Consolidation: Better Coordination or Price Gouging?. Click the link to check out a wide range of resources related to the webinar (including an issue brief, slides, and much more), or click here to see the webcast itself.

Leemore Dafny (from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management), spoke on insurance company consolidation. She recently wrote a paper for the Commonwealth Fund on “Evaluating the Impact of Health Insurance Industry Consolidation: Learning From Experience,” which contends that consolidation in the insurance industry will lead to premium increases.

Chapin White (of Rand) spoke on provider consolidation. His most startling slide showed how growth in health insurance premiums outpaces earnings. It really shows how much cost to consumers affects our wallets and cuts into our earnings.

ChapinSlide.PNG

Dena Mendelsohn of Consumers Union discussed ways to advocate in these situations.

Overall, a great informative webinar that helps all of us get smart on consolidation!

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