AMA: Insurance market growing less competitive

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Most areas of the country have only a single health insurer, according to a report from the American Medical Association, and that means that the marketplace is less competitive than it should be.

The report shows that the three top managed care plans in the United States have consolidated market concentration to the point there is no more competition for consumers.

“The broad scope of the new AMA analysis provides the most complete picture of the consolidation trend in health insurance markets,” said AMA president Jeremy Lazarus. “The new data demonstrate that most areas of the country have a single hearth insurer with an anticompetitive share of the HMO (health maintenance organization), PPO (preferred provider organization), or POS (point-of-service) market.”

The 2012 edition of the annual AMA report is the largest ansalyssi of its kind, reporting commercial health insurance market shares and market concentration levels for 385 metorpolitan areas in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

• A significant absence of health insurer competition is present in 70 percent of the metropolitan areas studied by the AMA. These markets are rated “highly concentrated,” based on the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.

• In 67 percent of the metropolitan areas studied by the AMA, at least one health insurer had an HMO market share of 50 percent or greater.

• In 68 percent of the metropolitan areas studied by the AMA, at least one health insurer had a PPO market share of 50 percent or greater.

• In 68 percent of the metropolitan areas studied by the AMA, at least one health insurer had a POS market share of 50 percent or greater.

• The top 10 states with the least competitive commercial health insurance markets are: 1. Alabama, 2. Hawaii, 3. Michigan, 4. Delaware 5. Alaska, 6. North Dakota, 7. South Carolina, 8. Rhode Island, 9. Wyoming and 10. Nebraska.

• The top 10 states with the least competitive HMO markets are: 1. Rhode Island, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. Wyoming 5. Utah, 6. Nebraska, 7. Idaho, 8. Nevada, 9. North Dakota and 10. Washington.

• The top 10 states with the least competitive PPO markets are: 1. Alabama, 2. Michigan, 3. Hawaii, 4. South Carolina, 5. Delaware, 6. Indiana, 7. Iowa, 8. North Carolina, 9. Nebraska and 10. Rhode Island.

• The top 10 states with the least competitive POS markets are: 1. North Dakota, 2. Rhode Island, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Alabama, 5. Wisconsin, 6. Tennessee, 7. New Mexico, 8. Vermont, 9. Mississippi and 10. Ohio.