Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Medical Insurance Competition in Ohio

Health Care for America Now, (HCAN), published a report showing the state of health insurance competition in America. Basically, to cut to the chase, it sucks, and Ohio is no different.

According to the report, 58% of the health insurance market in Ohio is controlled by two companies. These companies are Wellpoint, which is run by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medical Mutual.

The report notes that from 2000 to 2007:

1. The cost of health insurance premiums for Ohio working families has gone up 76%;

2. The average annual combined premium for employers and employees went from $6596 to $11636;

3.Employers saw their portion of annual premiums go up by 75% while employees saw their share increase by 80%; but

4. The median earnings of Ohio workers increased by 9%, from $25017 to $27255.

(You can read the full report here.)

One of the favorite talking points for Republicans is that somehow Obama's plan for a public option for health insurance will "destroy" the marketplace. Well, guess what, in a lot of states, including Ohio, there is not much of a marketplace left to destroy.

Maybe what we need is some good, old-fashioned, Teddy Roosevelt-style, trust busting. Maybe its time, in fact, past time, to unleash the Justice Department's anti-trust division on some health insurance providers.

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