CHICAGO — For the third year in a row Michigan ranks number three on the American Medical Association’s annual list of the nation’s least competitive commercial health insurance markets, raising concerns for healthcare consumers.
“The AMA is greatly concerned that in 41 percent of metropolitan areas, a single health insurer had at least 50 percent share of the commercial health insurance market,” says AMA president Dr. Robert M. Wah. “The dominant market power of big health insurers increases the risk of anti-competitive behavior that harms patients and physicians, and presents a significant barrier to the market success of smaller insurance rivals.”
Based on 2012 data, the study tracks competition among insurance providers in 388 metropolitan markets as well as all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The report suggests that Michigan offers consumers and employers fewer choices for health insurance providers than almost any other state in the country.
According to the report, in 2012, the two largest health insurers in Michigan were Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Spectrum Health controlled a combined 76 percent of the state’s market.
Further examination of 15 Michigan metro areas found 13 markets in the state where a single company commanded 50 percent or more market share. The least competitive Michigan market for health insurance was the Lancing-East Lansing area where BCBS of Michigan held 81 percent of the market share.
The AMA found that nationwide there is a significant absence of health insurer competition in 72 percent of metropolitan areas surveyed.
Additionally, the association released rankings of the top 10 most competitive states for health insurer competition. At the top of the list are Oregon, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The AMA report is intended to help researchers, lawmakers, policymakers, and regulators identify markets where mergers and acquisitions among health insurers may cause harm to patients, physicians, and employers.
To see the full AMA rankings click here.