The largest private health insurer in the country is planning to buy the nation’s largest insurer, AmerisourceBergen, and its American Crossroads health plans, according to a regulatory filing.
The announcement on Thursday was the first step in a plan that will combine two of the nations largest insurers into one entity, the filing said.
The move is likely to create more competition among the insurers and raise the price of plans across the country, the filings show.
It also could reduce the ability of consumers to use the health insurance marketplace to compare prices, which are currently the lowest they have been in decades.
“We believe that the combined entity will enable the United States to continue to attract and retain the best and most innovative providers in health care,” the company said in a statement.
AmerisourcesourceBerge, the nation s largest health insurer, said in September that it was acquiring AmerissourceBergen.
The merger would give the companies the ability to combine their business models and the companies would share profits, according a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the transaction is private.
The deal is expected to close in early 2018.
The American Crossroad plans have the highest deductibles, among the most expensive plans in the nation, according the person familiar.
They are also among the lowest cost plans, meaning the health insurers could pay much less for the care they provide, according this person.
Amerisource is a unit of the U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc. and the largest health plan provider in the United Kingdom, according it website.
Anthem was the nation S&P 500 index’s biggest employer in January and its largest insurer in October.
Its parent company was founded in 1898 and is based in Burlington, Vermont, and owns and operates some of the countrys largest and most prestigious hospitals and clinics.
Anthem has faced criticism over rising health care costs and is facing an investigation into its marketing practices.
The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.