Connecticut governor signs bill barring insurer information from subpoena, FOIA

Amid growing criticism of Connecticut officials' possible conflicts of interest with a proposed Cigna-Anthem merger, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill that effectively withholds any merger information from the public, according to the International Business Times.

The law, attached to unrelated dental and health legislation, was passed discreetly in the middle of the night last Thursday and signed by Gov. Malloy Friday without public statement. This occurred the same day Gov. Malloy rejected an open records request made by grassroots groups, who previously urged the governor to oust the state's Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade on grounds of her previous affiliation with Cigna and familial ties with Cigna employees.

The law would allow Mrs. Wade to keep documents about health insurers under wraps throughout the merger. Mrs. Wade said the bill was introduced in February, before Cigna and Anthem donated $360,000 into the Democratic Governors Association, which Gov. Malloy chairs.

The bill states "all workpapers, recorded information [and] documents" state regulators receive from insurers "shall be confidential, shall not be subject to subpoena and shall not be made public," according to IBT.

The law also allows state regulators to retrieve data about insurers' market share and business activities, but "exempts data provided in response from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act."

This is the first significant change to Connecticut insurance state law in 30 years, according to IBT. Mrs. Wade deemed the law particularly important for state regulators to protect information that could harm insurers if released.

Those opposed to the bill say it will limit transparency concerning the contested merger.

The secrecy bill will not take effect until October, and the proposed merger would not be complete until 2017.

More articles on payer issues:
Premier Health hospitals no longer in CareSource's Just4Me network
ACA linked to 8% increase in health coverage for rural Americans: 5 things to know
Kathleen Sebelius questions big insurer mergers

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