Aetna-Humana deal divides California regulators

Aetna-Humana deal divides California regulators

Dave-jonesCalifornia Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is opposing efforts by Aetna to acquire Humana.

The California Department of Managed Health Care gave the Aetna-Humana its blessing Monday.

Aetna, which is based in Hartford, Connecticut, and Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana, say they need to team up to do a better job of bargaining with large hospital companies and other large providers, and to cope with Affordable Care Act provisions that are pushing them to slash administrative costs.

Jones says in a letter explaining his opposition to the deal that the recent wave of insurer consolidation could hurt consumers.

“With only a few players left on the field, sending a strong player into the locker room has substantial anticompetitive impact,” Jones writes in the letter.

Having the companies sell some operations would do little to reduce the effect of the deal, and, in practice, in the present environment, creating a new insurer as big as Humana would be impossible, Jones says.

“Loss of Humana will be the loss of an irreplaceable competitive resource,” Jones says.