Blue Cross, United control Florida healthcare

Feb 7, 2011

The following article was published in the Jacksonville Business Journal on February 7, 2011: 


Blue Cross, United control Florida Healthcare


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and United Healthcare together controlled 65 percent of Florida’s commercial health insurance market in 2008, up from 41 percent two years earlier, according to a new report by the American Medical Association.

The report found that Florida led the nation in health insurer consolidation. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida is based in Jacksonville, and employs 6,500 locally.

The findings are in the 2010 edition of the Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets, which looked at enrollment in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) in 359 metropolitan areas in 46 states.

The study, which looked at 21 of Florida’s metropolitan areas, found 12 where the two largest health insurers had a combined market share of 70 percent or more.

In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, United Healthcare had a large chunk of the market share, but Aetna had more than Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, which was stronger in most metro areas to the north.

In the Fort Lauderdale metro area, United Healthcare had 28 percent of market concentration, while Aetna had 24 percent. In the Miami metro area, United Healthcare had 30 percent of the market share, while Aetna had 19 percent.

“High concentration levels in health insurance markets are largely the result of consolidation, which likely has led to the exercise of market power and, in turn, harm to consumers and providers of care,” the study notes.