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Health Insurer Competition Absent, AMA Says

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 3, 2011

“The market power of health insurers continues to prompt anti-competitive concerns among physicians,” Wilson said. “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.”

Zirkelbach said an analysis by AHIP of last year’s AMA study was beset with errors of fact and methodology. “For example, the AMA data exclude some types of self-funded plans, a large and growing portion of the market, and show significantly higher market concentration than data available from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,” he said. “Moreover, a simple search on the new HealthCare.gov shows that in every state, families and employers have multiple choices of both insurance plans and types of coverage.”

Zirkelbach said that AHIP’s analysis showed that the states that are often cited as examples of high market concentration actually have some of the lowest premiums in the nation.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Health Insurer Competition Absent, AMA Says"


Todd (2/4/2011 at 11:11 AM)
This is the same old argument from the AMA. When are these physicians going to stop appealing to the popular belief even when its fallacious? Doctors know the high cost of private insurance and the subsequent consolidation in the marketplace is largely due to the cost shifting required by providers due to the underpayment by medicare and medicaid.

bluetooth (2/3/2011 at 10:11 AM)
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Sadly this article ignores the fundamental driver of health insurance premiums (cost of care) and goes down the rabbit trail of the AMA's red herring of "market share." And no evidence is cited about the AMA claim of members' "higher insurance premiums than they should." To blame insurers for high premiums without addressing the underlying exorbitant and skyrocketing cost of medical care is like blaming the gas station for high gas prices rather than the cost of oil. And according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, health insurers average 3% profit margin...what do you think physicians' margins are? (Wait for it.)