Two reports have recently come out to confirm that health insurance companies have an increasing monopoly on most major US markets especially in Arizona according to the article “Arizona Among States With Health-Insurer Monopolies” by Ginger Rough on azcentral.com.
There was a study that recently was released from the American Medical Association which found that 99% of 313 US metropolitan markets have highly concentrated insurance markets under guidelines set forth by the US Department of Justice as well as The Federal Trade Commission. The AMA study showed that 24 out of the 43 states studied had two of the largest insurance companies tackling 70% or more of the market share.
In Arizona specifically, Blue Cross Blue Shield controls about 45% of the market and United Healthcare has about 27%. This is a total of 72% combined and could be considered a monopoly making rates higher for consumers. President Obama’s administration pointed out the rising premium costs and lack of competition in the health insurance market as one of the main reasons reform is necessary for our country. Through the new health care reform bill they hope to change some of these challenging numbers.