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US: FTC to study the impact of COPAs

 |  October 21, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission issued orders to five health insurance companies and two health systems to provide information that will allow the agency to study the effects of certificates of public advantage (COPAs) on prices, quality, access, and innovation of healthcare services. The FTC also intends to study the impact of hospital consolidation on employee wages.

COPAs are regulatory regimes, adopted by state governments that are intended to displace competition among healthcare providers. COPAs purport to immunize mergers and collaborations from antitrust scrutiny under the state action doctrine. FTC staff are engaged in an ongoing policy project to assess the effects of COPAs, which includes the study of COPAs recently approved for Ballad Health in Tennessee and Virginia, and Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia.

The five health insurance companies receiving orders from the FTC are: 1) Aetna, Inc., 2) Anthem, Inc., 3) BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, 4) Cigna Corporation, and 5) United Healthcare. These orders seek patient-level commercial claims data. The two health systems receiving orders from the FTC are: 1) Ballad Health and 2) Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc. These orders seek aggregated patient billing and discharge data; health system employee wage data; and other information relevant for analyzing the health systems’ prices, quality, access, and innovation.

Full Content: FTC

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