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The 3 big reasons for insurers’ merger mania

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Wendell Potter, a former executive of Cigna, the huge health insurer, writes that there are three main reasons f0r the wave of health-insurance mergers and none of them are the Affordable Care Act.

Writing on the Center for Public Integrity’s Web site, he says the three reasons are:

Size has long mattered: There’s 20 years of plenty of history of provider and insurance mergers that help explain the new ones.

Changing demographics: The swelling cohort of the Baby Boomers.

A shrinking employer-based health insurance market: “Although the vast majority of Americans with private health insurance get their coverage through the workplace, employers no longer present insurers with growth opportunities.”

But, Mr. Potter says,  “Obamacare appears to have halted this erosion {of employer-sponsored plans}. Membership in employer-sponsored plans has remained stable over the past couple of years, according to the Urban Institute researchers.”

He concludes:

“So the next time you hear a politician or pundit claim that Obamacare is to blame for the dwindling number of big for-profit insurers, know that they either don’t know what they’re talking about or they’re trying to mislead you. More than likely it’s some of both.”

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