Health plans and physicians pointed fingers at one another this week, with each side blaming the other for market consolidations that they both claim are driving healthcare costs.
However, impartial observers say both sides are to blame and consumers are bearing the cost.
The American Medical Association on Wednesday released the 2012 edition of Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets. The physicians' association says the report shows widespread anticompetitive health insurance markets in most regions of the country for point-of-service plans, health maintenance organizations, and preferred provider organizations. The report details commercial health insurance market shares and market concentration levels for 385 metropolitan areas in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"The broad scope of the new AMA analysis provides the most complete picture of the consolidation trend in health insurance markets," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a media release. "The new data demonstrate that most areas of the country have a single health insurer with an anticompetitive share of the HMO, PPO, or POS market."