Premiums Soaring in Consolidated Health Insurance Market: Lack of Competition Hurts Rural States, Small Businesses

Health care costs have surged in recent years, outpacing the growth in Americans’ income. Commercial health insurance premiums have risen four times faster than wages and have more than doubled in the last nine years.1 Shrinking competition among health insurance companies is a major cause of these spiraling costs. In the past 13 years more than 400 corporate mergers have involved health insurers, and a small number of companies now dominate local markets. The American Medical Association reports that 94 percent of insurance markets in the United States are now highly concentrated. Contrary to industry assertions, these mergers have undermined market efficiency; premiums have skyrocketed, increasing more than 87 percent, on average, over the past six years.

Full National Report: Premiums Soaring in Consolidated Health Insurance Market:Lack of Competition Hurts Rural States, Small Businesses (PDF Updated July 15, 2009)

State reports attached to full document.