Anthem Blue Cross of California has proposed rate increases of up to 39% for individual members. The WellPoint subsidiary has a 57% share of the individual market in California, according to the state insurance commissioner.
The AMA analyzed 43 states and 313 metropolitan markets against an index used by federal regulators, looking at HMO and PPO enrollment in those areas between 2006 and 2007. Some 99% of metro markets in 2007 were “highly concentrated,” up from 94% in 2006. In more than half of metro markets, at least one insurer had a market share of 50% or greater, up from 40% in 2006, according to the AMA.
The AMA is urging the Justice Department and state agencies to more vigorously review antitrust mergers.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade group for insurers, said consumers have a large variety of insurance options. “Health insurance plans operate in highly competitive markets across the country, and consumers have numerous choices in the types of plans and in insurers. To the extent that research has raised the question of competition as a factor in rising healthcare costs, it has pointed to consolidation among providers, not health plans.”
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