Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, Massachusetts’ second and third largest health plans, are exploring a merger that would help them to compete against market leader Blue Cross Blue Shield, it was announced on Jan. 25.

Harvard School of Public Health health policy experts, including Nancy Turnbull and Meredith Rosenthal, weighed in on the planned merger with a number of Boston media outlets. Turnbull told WBZ NewsRadio that while the merger will provide consumers with fewer options, its increased leverage with hospitals and other providers could help lower health care costs.