Health insurance competition

March 26, 2012 Ryan Schuster

My wife is a super shopper. Before making a major purchase (or even a smaller one such as buying a new pair of shoes for our daughters), she comparison shops for the desired model, brand and the cheapest price. It would be much easier if shopping for health insurance worked this way. But trying to comparison shop for health insurance can be kind of like comparing apples and oranges because of the many different options offered by differing companies.

While competition between stores often leads to lower prices and better service, health insurance competition does not work the same way. Health insurance premiums are mostly based on health care costs (the chart below shows how increases in members' claims in recent years have led to higher premiums). A complete breakdown of how your premium dollar is spent is available here. People are using more health care these days and are getting more expensive tests and treatment, driving up costs.

Premiums rise as medical expenses rise graph

Today, approximately 12 health insurance companies do business in North Dakota. We have nearly 470,000 members and we are working hard to earn and keep your trust. We are listening to your concerns. We value you as a member and look forward to serving you for years to come.