DMHC Approves Centene’s Acquisition of Health Net
(Sacramento) – California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Director Shelley Rouillard approved Centene’s acquisition of Health Net.
“As the largest health plan regulator in California our focus is to ensure the strong consumer protections
and financial solvency requirements under the Knox-Keene Act are upheld,” said Director Shelley Rouillard.
The DMHC examines proposed health plan mergers to ensure enrollee health care rights are protected and that enrollees have continued access to appropriate health care services.
The DMHC’s approval includes several conditions that will improve access and quality of care, and protect the health care rights of enrollees.
“The Department’s conditions will improve both plan performance and care for California’s members,” continued Rouillard. “In addition to the plans agreeing to invest in our health care delivery system to better serve consumers, I am pleased to announce Health Net’s headquarters and key operations will remain in California. I also applaud Centene’s commitment to our state by building a new service center in California.”
Among the conditions the DMHC imposed, which are referred to as undertakings, the plans agree to:
- Keep key functions and operations performed under Health Net in California, including maintaining Health Net’s headquarters in the state.
- Improve enrollee quality of care measured through rating and oversight programs under the DMHC, Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Office of the Patient Advocate.
- Contribute $65 million to improve enrollee health outcomes, support locally-based consumer assistance programs and strengthen the health care delivery system. On top of the $65 million, Centene will invest $75 million in California’s health care infrastructure for underserved groups.
- Build a service center in an economically distressed community in California employing at least 300 people. Centene will invest $200 million in support of building the service center and creating new jobs.
The DMHC undertakings are available here.
The plans filed the proposed acquisition with the DMHC on August 10, 2015. The Department conducted a thorough review of the proposed transaction, and examined the plans’ organizational and corporate structures, administrative capacity changes, health care delivery system changes, product or subscriber changes, the effect of the transaction on the financial viability of the plans, the financing for the transaction and its impact on consumers.
The DMHC held a public meeting on December 7, 2015 regarding the merger. The meeting provided an opportunity for members of the public to comment and for Centene and Health Net to publicly explain the transaction.
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California Department of Insurance grants acquisition Approval
- Merger costs will not be imposed on California policyholders. None of the costs of the merger, including any and all executive compensation pay-outs, will be passed on to consumers.
- Health Net will maintain and grow its commercial line of business. Growth commitments and investment requirements, to ensure that Centene continues to invest substantially in Health Net Life and both companies seek to expand Health Net Life’s presence and ability to compete in California’s individual, small group and large group health insurance markets.
- Health Net Life will continue to offer products through Covered California.
- Centene and Health Net Life must provide sufficient networks of medical providers and timely access to medical providers and hospitals.
- Centene and Health Net Life must improve the quality of care delivered through their health insurance.
- An adequate distribution channel for Health Net health insurance must be maintained.
- Senior management for Health Net’s California operations must remain in California and restrictions are placed on Centene’s ability to “re-domesticate” or move Health Net Life out of state.
- Centene will invest further in California by making a $200 million infrastructure investment by establishing a California call center, bringing new jobs to California.
- Centene and Health Net will invest an additional $30 million in California’s low and moderate income neighborhoods, with investments prioritized for health facilities.
- The merger provides the opportunity to bring additional capital and resources from outside California to assist a California health insurer that has faced losses and declining market share. The merger provides the opportunity to increase competition and choice for California consumers, with Health Net after the merger better positioned to compete against larger state and national competitors;
- The acquisition is not a conversion or acquisition of a non-profit health insurer where publicly enabled non-profit resources are being converted to private gain, but is instead an arms-length transaction between for-profit health insurers;
- I have approved the merger subject to an extensive and comprehensive set of strong consumer oriented conditions and requirements, which have been agreed to by Centene and Health Net. Some of those conditions are set forth above.
“The merger conditions also include reporting and monitoring requirements and establish significant financial consequences to Centene and Health Net in the event that requirements and conditions are not met.
“To prevent Health Net Life from being at a competitive disadvantage with regard to its dramatically larger competitors, some of the conditions and specific requirements, which impact Health Net Life’s business plans going forward, had to be kept confidential. If Health Net Life’s competitors were able to see all the conditions and requirements I have required they could take advantage of this information to the detriment of Health Net Life, the California market, and California consumers.
“California’s private health insurance market is dominated by a limited number of health insurers. The market is what economists describe as an oligopolistic market. It is also what economists describe as a “naturally” oligopolistic market-to compete successfully in the private health insurance market requires considerable size, resources, capital, infrastructure, expertise, and market share. Without the strong consumer-oriented conditions and the additional outside capital and resources the merger brings to Health Net Life, there is significant risk of further consolidation of the market with the loss of a significant existing health insurer. The approval of this merger with strong consumer-oriented conditions will enable Health Net to have access to additional capital and resources to better position it to compete against larger rivals and continue to offer additional health insurance choices to consumers. The ultimate outcome of that competition lies within the hands of Centene, Health Net, the market, Health Nets’ competitors, and consumers and businesses who will decide where they want to purchase health insurance. California is better off, however, with a stronger Health Net better able to compete and offer consumers and businesses more choice in health insurance products.”