Responding March 15 to a House Committee on Education and the Workforce request for comments on ways to strengthen the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, AHA called for greater oversight of ERISA-regulated insurers to prevent inappropriate care denials, payment delays and self-dealing by vertically integrated insurers.

“Health insurers have gone through dramatic vertical consolidation since ERISA was signed into law,” the letter notes. “Over the last decade, the major corporate insurers have spent billions of dollars acquiring not only other plans, but also providers, pharmacy service companies, and health technology and claims adjudication systems. … The recent cyberattack against UnitedHealth Group’s subsidiary Change Healthcare illustrates the risks of this consolidation. When one company controls such a large component of the health care infrastructure, there are serious risks to public health.”

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