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Does a free market benefit the individual or the health care provider?

The insurance industry is complex and adjusting how its products are marketed may have a negative impact on consumers. Economists swear by a free market environment as being beneficial to all who participate in it.

But would a free market environment work for the insurance industry? To answer that question, a group of economists studied Medicare Advantage, where beneficiaries chose from alternative cost-sharing arrangements and restricted provider networks. A healthy 32 percent of seniors have opted for Medicare Advantage where the government pays insurers a fixed fee to cover patients, not a separate service fee as in traditional Medicare.

Based on the growing numbers of seniors opting for Medicare Advantage, it appears they find the competition for their business and the choices they are offered to be very appealing and beneficial. According to House Speaker Paul Ryan, choice and competition are better options when it comes to selecting health insurance. It appears research supports his contention.

What does the future hold? It may be interesting to see what happens when the transition from one administration to another completes.