UnitedHealth Group units also have a big presence
Business owners with fewer than 50 employees in some states may feel as if they already buy health coverage through a single-payer health care system.
Researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office have published data supporting that conclusion in a report on competition in the small group health insurance market prepared at the request of Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo.; and Sen. James Talent, R-Mo.
Regulators in California, New Hampshire and New Mexico did not respond to the survey at all, while regulators in seven other states could not or would not give the GAO researchers any small group market concentration statistics.
Another six states told the GAO how many carriers were licensed to sell small group coverage in their jurisdictions but could not provide any market share data.
In theory, at least three carriers are licensed to sell small group health coverage in all of the jurisdictions that participated in the GAO survey.
But a single health insurance carrier accounted for at least 50% of 2004 small group sales in nine of the 35 jurisdictions that provided small group market data, and a single carrier accounted for at least 75% of 2004 small group sales in four jurisdictions, according to the GAO researchers.