ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwired – December 17, 2015) – On November 16, 2015, Top Docs Radio welcomed to the studio Donald Palmisano with the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) and Dr. John Rogers with Coliseum Northside Hospital. Host CW Hall led this month’s MAG special to talk about the challenges and concerns arising from recently-proposed mergers between large health insurance companies that will significantly reduce the amount of competition in the space for Georgians to choose.
Donald Palmisano is the CEO and Executive Director of MAG. The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is the leading advocate for physicians in the state. MAG focuses on legislative, legal and third party payer issues. Serving as the Co-Medical Director of Coliseum Northside Hospital, Dr. John Rogers is also a MAG delegate from Bibb County. The studio discussion focused on the fact that Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna are in the process of merging. At the same time, health insurers are offering insurance policies to the public that do not have adequate coverage, resulting in more out of network charges by physicians.
Aetna/Humana and Wellpoint/Cigna have proposed mergers in the health insurance market. If these inadequate policies are being offered in the current environment, MAG is concerned about how patients will be negatively impacted with a further narrowing of the networks and increased physician reliance on out of network charges.
MAG recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to call for it to scrutinize the mergers for antitrust violations. According to Palmisano, “We believe the mergers would reduce competition and place physicians and their patients at an even greater disadvantage as a shrinking number of health insurance companies gain increasingly-dominant positions in the marketplace.”
“Physicians have little-to-no leverage to negotiate contract terms with these multi-billion dollar conglomerates,” explained Dr. Rogers, “which are imposing take-it-or-leave-it agreements and unilateral, mid-term amendments with growing impunity.”
Gone unchecked, a few insurers will be in a position to manipulate the marketplace to institute policies that will exacerbate the physician shortage and undermine the economic viability of the practice environment in the state, and limit the accessibility of care and individual patient choice.
To learn more about MAG’s position on healthcare mergers, listen to the entire interview onTop Docs Radio.
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Top Docs Radio is a forum for conversations with leading doctors and thought leaders. Discussions are about cutting edge trends and topics in health, wellness and lifestyle issues. Top Docs Radio is presented by Hyperbaric Physicians of Georgia and is hosted by Charles “CW” Hall. The program airs live every Thursday at Noon Eastern.
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