By: Andis Robeznieks
Consolidation has caused a lack of competition among commercial health plans that tends to lead to higher premiums for consumers and lower payment for physician services.
The 16th edition of the AMA annual report, “Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets,” examined market concentration in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 389 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and found that in 43 percent of MSAs one insurer had at least a 50 percent share of the market.
“We find that the majority of U.S. commercial health insurance markets are highly concentrated,” the report concludes. “Our findings should prompt federal and state antitrust authorities to vigorously examine the competitive effects of proposed mergers between health insurers.”