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AMA: 73% Of U.S. Lacks Health Insurance Competition

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois controls 60% of Chicago’s commercial health plan market
By Bruce Japsen

Amid a flurry of merger activity in the health insurance industry, a new report says 73% of the commercial insurance markets are “highly concentrated,” threatening consumer choice of doctors and contributing to higher healthcare costs.

The report, issued by the American Medical Association, comes as health insurance companies have already taken on an even greater role in providing coverage for most Americans.

Aside from commercial coverage through employers, individual coverage is purchased from private health plans and often includes a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The study, which looked at 381 metropolitan statistical areas, said nearly one in two or 48% of metropolitan statistical areas had one insurance company with a combined commercial market share of 50% or more among health maintenance organization (HMO), point-of-service (POS) and preferred provider organization (PPO) plans as well as plans purchased on the ACA’s public exchanges.

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