|By EILEEN MOZINSKI SCHMIDT|
But while the
The national report, "Competition in
The report, which includes data from 385 metro areas and all 50 states, was an investigation into competition levels for insurers providing various types of health care plans; point-of-service plans, health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations.
The findings were that a lack of competition is the norm across the country.
"The new data demonstrate that most areas of the country have a single health insurer with an anti-competitive share of the ... market," said
The result is "increased premiums, watered-down benefits and insurers' growing profitability as evidence that highly concentrated markets harm patients and physicians," the report said.
In the study,
Wellmark accounts for 78 percent or more of that market in
Elsewhere in the tri-states,
Others in the tri-state area medical and insurance industries were reticent to discuss
A spokeswoman for
The Iowa Insurance Division tapped an
That report found that
He noted that the company has a long-term priority of creating a sustainable health care system.
The company, which is owned by its policyholders, has a small operating margin with a target profit margin of 0 to 3 percent, according to Brown's statement.
He said premium rates are regulated by the insurance division and are "competitive" with those charged by other insurers in
As debate circulated in recent weeks over
The AMA study authors acknowledged that consolidation of insurers can have both beneficial and harmful effects on consumers.
"However, only the latter has been observed," the study said, adding that the consolidations have resulted in "monopoly power" to raise premiums above competitive levels.
The study's authors called for "prompt" examinations by state and federal antitrust authorities, along with investigations into the impact of previous consolidations on premium levels.
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