Connecticut’s insurance department convenes a public hearing on an important health insurance merger in the state today. But as Harriet Jones reports, an organization representing the state’s physicians won’t be allowed to give testimony.
UnitedHealth wants to buy Health Net’s northeastern division in a 510 million dollar deal. Minnesota based UnitedHealth would acquire almost 600 thousand members in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey through the acquisition. The Connecticut portion of the merger must be cleared by the state’s Insurance Department, and a public hearing on the matter is scheduled for this morning. The Connecticut State Medical Society had sought what’s called intervenor status at the hearing, but that request has been denied by the department. Matthew Katz, the executive vice president of the Society says he was surprised that they won’t be allowed to give testimony.
"It is in fact the patients and the physicians who will be most impacted by any merger and acquisition, and in this case we’ve got two large insurers coming together as essentially one in Connecticut. Becoming a dominant player within the market, and becoming an anticompetitive entity, limiting the ability of patients and physicians, to make informed decisions on the care they so desperately need."
In denying the request, the department said that it had not been filed in a timely manner. It also said that the society’s objections to the deal were based on what it called “speculative effects that could be felt by physicians”.