R.I. health-insurance market the 10th least competitive in U.S.

Rhode Island’s health-insurance market is one of the least competitive in the country, according to an annual study by the American Medical Association released Thursday. More

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R.I. health-insurance market the 10th least competitive in U.S.

COURTESY AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION has named Rhode Island among the 10 least competitive health-insurance markets in the country and one of 15 states nationwide in which a single health insurer holds a commercial market share of 50 percent or more.
Posted 11/8/13

(Updated, 2 p.m.)

CHICAGO – Rhode Island’s health-insurance market is one of the least competitive in the country, according to an annual study by the American Medical Association released Thursday.

The Rhode Island market – dominated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island with a 50 percent market share and UnitedHealthcare with a 33 percent market share – ranked at No. 10 on the Chicago-based organization’s 2013 list of the least-competitive health insurance markets.

Rhode Island ranked at No. 8 on the 2012 list and did not appear on the 2011 list.

The Ocean State joins Alabama, Hawaii, Michigan, Delaware, Alaska, South Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska and Louisiana as the 10 U.S. states with the least competitive health-insurance markets. These 10 states are among 15 states in which a single health insurer holds a commercial market share of 50 percent or more.

In 45 states, two private health insurers together hold a combined market share of 50 percent or more.

“In far too many states, one or two insurance companies dominate the market, which can hurt patients, physicians and employers,” said Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, president of the American Medical Association. “Without rivals to compete against, a large health insurance company can take advantage of patients by raising premiums and dictating important aspects of patient care.”

The study, titled “Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets,” examined both fully-insured and self-insured plans in 386 metropolitan areas representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the American Medical Association said.

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