HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, reports that despite the state's rapid population growth, national health insurance plans face a challenge in taking any market share from local plans like Sierra Health Services, Inc. According to the latest issue of Nevada Health Plan Analysis, other HMOs are avoiding direct competition with Sierra, especially in the Las Vegas area, and are looking to the self-insured market for their immediate growth.

"Geographically, Nevada is rural, but demographically it's urban," said Lori Anne Parker, HealthLeaders-InterStudy analyst. "Eighty-seven percent of the population is in Clark County around Las Vegas and Washoe County around Reno. HMOs like Sierra in Clark County and Saint Mary's HealthFirst and Hometown Health Plan in Reno dominate the market."

Recent acquisitions, particularly WellPoint's of Anthem in late 2004, and UnitedHealth Group's of PacifiCare in late 2005, will have effects on this market by 2008. PacifiCare, particularly, will now benefit from United's financial backing and technology infrastructure. It is already launching new products for small business in Nevada, effective June 1.

Anthem's recent decision to lower its provider reimbursement rates is expected to stoke the competition that is growing in the self-insured market. Many businesses and unions choose to self insure when that is the low-cost alternative. HMOs see self-insurance as a major competitor for members.

  Other health plan news in Nevada:   * The state is taking new bids from insurers interested in being part of     the Medicaid managed care program after a tabulation error earlier this     year   * A new waiver is being sought to expand healthcare coverage for     low-income, pregnant women and small-group employees    About Health Plan Analysis 

Health Plan Analysis identifies key health plan trends, allowing healthcare businesses to create comprehensive strategic plans and sales strategies at state and local levels. Nevada is a new state for Health Plan Analysis.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a company of Decision Resources, Inc. (http://www.decisionresources.com/), is the authoritative source for managed care data and analysis. For more information, please visit http://www.healthleaders-interstudy.com/.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

  For more information, contact:    Alex Jablokow    Decision Resources    781-296-2562    ajablokow@dresources.com 

SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Alex Jablokow of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2562,
ajablokow@dresources.com

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