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.
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.
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.
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.
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!