U.S. hospitals are stepping up their bid to stop Anthem Inc.’s takeover of rival health insurer Cigna Corp., saying the deal will increase the dominance of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and potentially raise premiums for consumers.
The enhanced bargaining power of the Blue Cross plans will undermine competition and should compel the Justice Department to stop the deal, the American Hospital Association wrote in a letter to the department’s antitrust chief Bill Baer.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is an association of independent insurers operating across the country. Anthem operates health insurance plans under the brand in 14 states.
“The acquisition threatens to both reinforce existing barriers to entry and raise new ones, further entrench dominant Blue plans, and exacerbate conditions conducive to abuse of market or monopoly power,” according to the letter, which was dated Monday.