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American Medical Association: Less competition in health insurance markets in half of U.S. states

November 29, 2018 / Joanne Finnegan

Many patients had fewer choices last year as competition levels dropped in health insurance markets in half of the U.S. states, according to a new report. The report (PDF) released by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that half of all states had commercial health insurance markets that were less competitive in 2017 than in the previous year. In 91% of 380 metropolitan areas studied in 2017, at least one insurer had a commercial market share of 30% or more of the market, the report found. In 46% of metropolitan areas, a single insurer’s market share was at least 50%. Overall, 73% of metropolitan areas had a significant absence of health insurer competition and were considered “highly concentrated” based on federal guidelines used to assess market competition. Highly concentrated levels are largely the result of consolidation and can make them ripe for payers to exercise market power in a way that can negatively impact patients and healthcare providers, the r...