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AMA: Absence of Health Insurer Competition in Many Areas

Significant absence of health insurer competition in 72 percent of the metropolitan areas studied

MONDAY, Nov. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In most metropolitan areas, there is a significant absence of health insurer competition, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The top 10 most competitive states among health insurers include Oregon, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, and Florida. The 10 states with the least competitive commercial health insurance markets include Alabama, Hawaii, Michigan, Delaware, Louisiana, and Illinois, with Illinois appearing for the first time.

The report also shows that there is a significant absence of health insurer competition in 72 percent of the metropolitan areas studied; these markets are rated as "highly concentrated." A single health insurer had a commercial market share of 50 percent or more in 17 states; two health insurers had a combined commercial market share of 50 percent or more in 45 states; and a single health insurer had at least a 30 percent share of the commercial health insurance market in 90 percent of metropolitan areas.

"The AMA is greatly concerned that in 41 percent of metropolitan areas, a single health insurer had at least a 50 percent share of the commercial health insurance market," AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D., said in an AMA new release. "The dominant market power of big health insurers increases the risk of anti-competitive behavior that harms patients and physicians, and presents a significant barrier to the market success of smaller insurance rivals."

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