Market consolidation in California is driving up prices for hospitals and physician services as well as ACA premiums, according to a report from UC Berkeley. The comparison is stark between the highly consolidated Northern California market and Southern California:
- In 2014, inpatient prices were 70% higher in Northern California while outpatient prices were 17% to 55% higher.
- In 2016, benchmark monthly premiums for an unsubsidized 40-year-old were 35% higher in Northern California than in Southern California ($367 vs. $271).
In response to increasing market consolidation, Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) introduced AB 595. Under the bill, health plans that want to merge with or acquire other health plans would have to get approval from the director of the Department of Managed Health Care. The bill was introduced February 2017 and amended most recently in January 2018.