As U.S. health insurers chart an unprecedented consolidation of the industry, hospitals are taking a fresh look at becoming insurers themselves to keep more of their patients’ healthcare dollars in house.
Among the country’s largest insurers, Aetna Inc struck a deal to buy Humana Inc, while Anthem Inc agreed to acquire Cigna Corp. Both transactions are expected to draw months of scrutiny by U.S. antitrust regulators and Congress.
Hospital and physician groups say the mega-mergers announced this past summer could drive up premiums and limit choices for consumers. Insurers, however, say the combinations will give them more leverage to negotiate discounts for medical care.