Aetna-Prudential Plan Goes to State Hearing

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Hartford Courant

Connecticut insurance regulators will hold a public hearing Friday on Aetna‘s planned purchase of Prudential HealthCare, which is drawing protests from the state medical society and a California consumer group.

The hearing will start at 10 a.m. at the Department of Insurance, 10th floor of 153 Market St., Hartford — the rear entrance to the old G. Fox building. The department will rule later on whether Aetna can take over Prudential’s Connecticut health plan.

Critics, though, are worried about the overall $1 billion national deal.

In a letter to the insurance department, California-based Consumers For Quality Care calls the takeover “a dangerous move in the direction of a private healthcare monopoly” that will degrade the quality of care.

Timothy Norbeck, executive director of the Connecticut State Medical Society, said Wednesday Aetna is motivated by “market power that can force lower prices for what the organization buys and higher prices for what it sells.”

Aetna‘s market share after the deal “is not a monopoly and neither is it anti-competitive in any market,” said company spokeswoman Joyce Oberdorf. Aetna is not the largest health care player in Connecticut and Prudential’s HMO has a little more than 2,000 members here.

The director of Consumers for Quality Care, Oberdorf said, “is a long-time opponent of the insurance industry and he is passionately opposed to managed care.”

Consumer Watchdog
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