Yesterday, California Health Commissioner Dave Jones urged the US Department of Justice to block a proposed
merger between Anthem, Inc and Cigna Corporation.
In response, Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, released this statement:
“CRC applauds Commissioner Jones for his thoughtful response to the proposed merger of health insurer giants
Anthem and Cigna. The proposed merger would work to the detriment of California’s consumers and
communities. In recommending that the Department of Justice block the deal, the Commissioner cited a number
of concerns with this merger, which would increase consolidation in the health insurance industry while likely
leading to reductions in health access, quality of care, and affordability for consumers.
In addition to these concerns, the California Reinvestment Coalition has also raised a number of concerns with
both companies and their track record (or lack thereof) of investing in California’s communities. The companies’
poor performance and failure to make strong and needed commitments to invest in neighborhoods only
exacerbates health disparities in California’s rural, low income and of color communities.
California is in the midst of a profound affordable housing crisis, which has clear and substantial health impacts,
in particular in low and moderate income communities and communities of color. We know that affordable and
stable housing promotes positive health outcomes for California consumers and communities, and there is a ready-made opportunity for insurers like Cigna and Anthem to support affordable housing through investing in
the California Organized Investment Network (COIN) program. COIN is overseen by the California Department
of Insurance, and is an important mechanism for financing health, affordable housing, and economic
development initiatives.
Ironically, COIN was developed in 1996, at the request of the insurance industry as an alternative to state
legislation that would have required insurers to invest in underserved communities, similar to bank obligations
under the Community Reinvestment Act. Through the COIN program, insurers can make investments in
affordable housing and other efforts that support economic and community development in California’s
underserved communities.
Despite the existence of the COIN program, Cigna and Anthem’s track record of investing in California’s
communities via the COIN program is pathetic. For example, according to COIN data, both companies reported
ZERO participation in the COIN Community Development Financial Institution Tax Credit Investment program
and only minimal investments in other COIN programs, especially as compared to their market share.
We support Commissioner Jones’ position in asking the US Dept. of Justice to block this merger. In addition to
the concerns he raised, their track record of meager investments in the health of California communities raises
alarm bells for us. We encourage both companies to rethink their community investment strategies and take
better advantage of the COIN program and other opportunities to invest in the health of California
You can read a letter to Commissioner Jones about the proposed Cigna/Anthem merger from CRC and twelve
additional allied and member organizations here.
Note: CRC is supporting California state legislation, AB 2728, which extends the state tax credit program that
awards up to $10 million annually for qualified investments through COIN-certified CDFIs, and brings
transparency to the insurance industry so that that the public can see which companies are investing in
California’s health, and which are not.