Are Health Insurance Markets Competitive?
AbstractTo gauge the competitiveness of the group health insurance industry, I investigate whether health insurers charge higher premiums, ceteris paribus, to more profitable firms. Such "direct price discrimination" is feasible only in imperfectly competitive settings. Using a proprietary national database of health plans offered by a sample of large, multisite firms from 1998-2005, I find firms with positive profit shocks subsequently face higher premium growth, even for the same health plans. Moreover, within a given firm, those sites located in concentrated insurance markets experience the greatest premium increases. The findings suggest health care insurers are exercising market power in an increasing number of geographic markets. (JEL G22, I11, I18, L11, L25)
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
- L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
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