Aetna is acquiring Humana for $37 million, as the consolidation wave continues to move through the ranks of major insurers, and brokerages. While this is not significant in many parts of the country, it is Huge in the south and southeastern US, creating the largest Medicare Advantage company in the United States. Humana has 14 million members, combined with Aetna for a total of 33 million members. the deal is not expected to have any impact in the 2015 enrollment periods, most likely closing in the second half of 2016.
Anthem is currently negotiating to buy Anthem according to the popular rumors, and United healthcare is rumored in purchases as well.
What affect will all this have? Less competition typically means higher prices in most markets, and this is particularily concerning in the face on continuing ACA regulations, and the the 2018 implementation of the Cadillac Tax, expected to increase rates as well. Physicians and hospitals are also concerned as fewer networks probably means lower reimbursements as the insurance giants get even more leverage.