CHICAGO – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the latest attorney general to join a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice to block the proposed merger of Humana and Aetna.
Aetna, headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, is the third largest health insurer in the United States and has customers in every state and the District of Columbia. It provides insurance for more than 23 million people and had $60 billion in revenues last year.
Humana is based in Louisville, Ky., and is the nation's fifth largest health insurance provider. It also operates in every state and the District of Columbia, providing insurance for more than 14 million people. It had $54 billion in revenues last year.
Madigan alleges the merger would harm competition among health insurance providers across the country. She joins attorneys general from several states, including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia and the District of Columbia in the suit to block the $37 billion merger of the two health insurance companies.
“This proposed merge would substantially lessen competition for Medicare Advantage patients across the country, including tens of thousands of patients in Illinois,” Madigan said in a press release.
The focus of Madigan’s office is the competition related to Medicare Advantage, but the suit also alleges that the purchase of Humana by Aetna would reduce competition substantially among health insurance providers for individuals and families on public healthcare exchanges, as well.
“With fewer options, costs for Illinois residents will inevitably increase,” Madigan said.
In February, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) asked Madigan to intervene in the suit, sending a letter to the attorney general. In addition to asking for intervention in the Aetna/Humana merger, the IHA also asked Madigan to intervene in the proposed $54 billion merger of Anthem and Cigna.
The IHA has more than 200 member hospitals and nearly 50 health systems in the state.
“IHA’s major concern is that the mergers will result in the drastic loss of sufficient competition in the individual, small group, large group and Medicare Advantage Markets,” A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO of IHA, told the Cook County Record.
He said the provider community should have the ability to negotiate sufficient provider initiatives to support access to care and provider networks.
“With the Aetna/Humana merger, over 72 percent of the Illinois market would be concentrated in three companies,” Wilhelmi said.
Those companies would be HCSC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; United Healthcare; and Aetna/Humana,
“Allowing insurance payers who already command significant leverage in the Illinois markets to merge will drastically reduce the options available to consumers and providers,” he said.
The suit also states that Aetna acquiring Humana would eliminate strong competitors on public exchanges in 17 counties in Florida, Georgia and Missouri, and affect more than 700,000 people.