Opinion

Top 5 carriers — Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945 by Henry Kaiser and Sidney Garfield, which makes me question why it’s not called Kaiser Garfield.

Regardless, it's the largest managed care company in the United States, dominating nearly every possible measure for market share dominance in the health insurance arena.

Geography

No other carrier has the same dominance on the west coast that Kaiser does. In addition, they’ve (perhaps wisely) avoided areas that are controlled by other carriers: let Cigna and Anthem duke it out for New England.

Lives Covered

Kaiser owns the small policy market. They are the undisputed kings. In the 100 participant and less policy market they manage more people than all of the other top five carriers combined. Untouchable! They’re not number one in some of the larger categories, but they’re #2 in the 1,000+ market.

Premiums

 

Here’s where things get even more impressive. Between $10,000 to $1 million, Kaiser’s market share is more than double the second place finisher. They are number one in five out of seven premium levels, and second in the other two. All told they control almost 14% of every premium dollar in the United States.

Commissions

Don’t think that Kaiser is some shining beacon of opportunity. They only paid a single penny on the premium dollar in commissions, averaging only slightly more than $11,000 per policy. Compare the other carriers that run between $39k-$52k.

And there you have it. Apparently lots and lots of power and control turns you into a bit of a penny pincher.

Next week we finish off the top five with our insurance carrier -- United!

Looking for other top five health insurance carriers? Check out my reports on Cigna, Anthem, and Aetna

About the Author
Dan Cole

Dan Cole

Dan Cole is the Research and Development Manager for FreeERISA, a leading employee benefits and retirement data website. With nearly a decade of experience guiding FreeERISA from an off-shoot of Judy Diamond Associates to one of the markets's top destinations with more than 750,000 users, Dan knows the ins-and-outs of the data behind this multi-trillion dollar industry and the people who make it hum.

Dan was a featured speaker on best practices at InfoCommerce Group's Data Content Summit in 2010, and previously wrote the introductions to the FreeERISA Daily eNewsletter.

Dan enjoys cooking, the great outdoors, and being nice to his mother.

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