The vast majority of U.S. commercial health insurance markets are dominated by one or two insurers, according to the 2010 edition of Competition in Health Insurance, released Feb. 1 by the American Medical Association. According to the analysis, 99% of health insurance markets in the U.S. are “highly concentrated,” based on the 1997 U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines.
In 48% of metropolitan statistical areas, the study found, at least one insurer had a market share of 50% or more. “To help restore a competitive balance to health insurance markets, the AMA urges the federal and state agencies to prohibit harmful insurance company mergers and adopt policies that would level the playing field between small physician practices and large insurers,” said AMA President Cecil Wilson, M.D.
The American Hospital Association also has requested stepped up enforcement against mergers and other anticompetitive conduct of the health insurance industry.