Summer of Insurer Consolidation

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Rumors have been swirling recently that several large health insurance issuers, such as Anthem, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna, were eyeing possible mergers.  Those rumors were confirmed this week when Anthem made a bid for Cigna and UnitedHealth made a bid for Aetna.  Consolidation should allow Anthem and UnitedHealth to further increase the revenue growth they have enjoyed due to the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage through public exchanges and Medicaid.  But it is less clear whether consumers, both individuals and employers, will benefit from these consolidations.  Health insurance premiums continue to rise and many are, understandably, skeptical that consolidation of the largest insurers will curb the annual increases.