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Doctors Question Anthem's Market Dominance

Nathan & Jenny
Creative Commons

The American Medical Association says it’s greatly concerned that a single insurance company dominates many health care marketplaces across America. It says the populations of several major cities in Connecticut are overly reliant on Anthem for health insurance.

The AMA released an analysis of competition in health insurance, which showed that WellPoint, which in Connecticut is branded Anthem, has a bigger geographical footprint than any other private health insurer.

Anthem has a lead in market share in five major metropolitan areas in Connecticut examined by the study. The least competitive market in the state was named as New Haven and Milford, where Anthem has a 51 percent market share.

Credit The American Medical Association

Anthem and UnitedHealth Group between them controlled 59 percent of the commercial health insurance market in Connecticut in 2012. Connecticut, however, was not named as one of the ten least competitive states. That list was headed by Alabama, Hawaii, and Michigan.

The AMA says it’s concerned that such market domination by one or two companies means patients are put at risk by anti-competitive behavior.

Anthem recently made headlines when it took five Connecticut hospitals out of its network, because it failed to reach an agreement in contract negotiations. The dispute was resolved within a few days, but health care industry watchers say such conflicts are bound to increase as the marketplace consolidates for both providers and insurers.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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