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Infographic of the Day: Market Share of Health Insurers

In many U.S. states, recent consolidation in the Health Insurance industry has left consumers with fewer choices. In all but 3 states, the top 2 health plans have over 50% market share.

Market Share of Two Largest Health Plans in Each State

[Red = 80 to 100% , Salmon= 70 to 79%, Gray= 50 to 69%, Black = less than 50%]

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(From Businessweek.)

This is the first in a series of regular posts highlighting interesting data and infographics.

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  • Rolando

    Interesting data, I’m sure, but as a graphic, this is a disaster. The table shows the single largest insurer, next to the market share for the two largest insurers. That makes no sense. Next, the blocks are of bizarre sizes. 20%, 10%, 20%, 50%. Perhaps breaking that third block into two 10% blocks would have saved us from the sea of gray in the western half of the country.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Rolando,
      The market share table contains only the largest insurer in the state (“Blue Cross Blue Shield” is a single insurer).
      The block sizes are arbitrary, and as you point out changing the block/bin sizes could have cut down on the grey states. However, the map still does a good job of emphasizing that in most states, 2 insurers have huge chunk of the market.
      In general, I won’t limit my posts to graphics that are perfect (or best-of-breed). I’ll also try to post ones that contain interesting/topical data.
      Thanks for commenting,
      Ben

  • http://friendfeed.com/dna2907 Matthew Hall

    i was listening to This American Life last night heard about Health Insurers using ‘recission’ to withdraw insurance to people making claims – unbelievable. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1308

  • Scott Cunningham

    i appreciate this graph, ben. it shows how insurance really has a hold on health care in teh US. people who have never been outside the US or experienced a different health care system should really keep their mouths shut about “socialized medicine”. they really have no idea what the term means. i’ve lived in 3 “third world” countries and received better health care in all of them compared to the crap service i have received in the US. don’t get me wrong, the US does have the best and the most advanced health care in the world, it’s the delivery and availability of said health care that’s the problem. i do hope the insurance lobby doesn’t screw this attempt to make our country civilized as it did during the clinton terms!

  • Frank Ch. Eigler

    Let’s speculate what would happen to this chart, should the federal takeover happen. All-black? But that’s better because … ?

  • Jen N

    It seems like this info by itself isn’t particularly useful. Maybe compare this graph to a graph showing health care spending per capita.

    The only ones I find in a quick search show medicare spending http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/89xx/doc8972/toc.htm (which obviously isn’t the full picture) but in this example I don’t see a correlation between $ spent and lack of competition in the market.