AMA Study Finds Increased Concentration of Insurance Companies for Third Straight Year

How concentrated are insurance markets across the U.S.? The American Medical Association examines this question in its annual report, Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets. This year’s edition found significant evidence of increasingly concentrated health insurance markets, resulting in barriers for patients’ access to health care. In the 2014 report, the American Medical Association studied 388 metropolitan areas in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And this year’s survey shows, once again, that health insurers clearly dominate in most markets across the country. The proof is in the numbers: In 47 states, one or [...] Read More »

Pivotal Study Shows For-Profit Conversion Preserves Patient Access to Quality Care

A new empirical study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) sets the record straight on the issue of for-profit hospital conversion, dispelling myths about the impact of these critical efforts to maintain access to care in communities with struggling hospitals.  In the study “Association Between Hospital Conversions to For-Profit Status and Clinical and Economic Outcomes,” analysis of data from for-profit hospital conversions shows that these hospitals maintain access to care, improve quality metrics, increase nurse staffing ratios, and, the study concludes, improve financial performance. The study measured hospital performance by 3 factors: financial performance, quality of [...] Read More »

NYT Article Highlights Insurance Design Shifts

The New York Times published an article over the weekend about the growing out-of-pocket health care payments many patients are facing today.  Reporters Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear assess the changing landscape of health insurance benefit plans for private insurers and the health care exchange as it enters its second year of operation. The article features the story of Patricia Wanderlich, a patient who suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011 and must regularly monitor a smaller aneurysm. Wanderlich, like many Americans, opted for an insurance plan with low co-payments and a high-deductible of $6,000.  Wanderlich says she chooses not to [...] Read More »