Politico interviewed Manatt's Joel Ario, a managing director with Manatt Health Solutions, for an article on the wave of mergers roiling the health insurance industry. The mergers are certain to attract scrutiny from federal and state regulators, given the potential for concentrated market power to increase premiums and threaten the stability of the insurance exchanges.
Ario spoke to Politico about Highmark and Independence Blue Cross' attempt to merge in 2007. Federal officials had no problem when the insurers sought to combine forces in Pennsylvania, but the merger was ultimately scuttled after state regulators detailed concerns that it would weaken insurer competition there.
"In that case, Pennsylvania took a tougher view of the standards than the federal government," said Ario. "The standards are similar, but two jurisdictions can take different views."