Government Intervention in Health Care Boosts Costs

A new report by the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) finds across all 50 states, the number of mandated benefits that states require insurers to include in all group health plan benefit packages has increased to 2,156.  States have the power to determine (i.e. mandate) which services and service providers must be covered in group health plans. For instance, more than one-third of states require insurers pay for marriage and family counseling. In vitro fertilization is mandated in 15 states.  Acupuncture must be covered in a dozen states; ten states require insurers to cover hair prosthesis for cancer patients.  Three states require that insurers reimburse providers of oriental medicine, while two states even require coverage for massage therapists.

According to the CAHI analysis, although most mandated benefits increase the cost of premiums by less than 1%, there are some two-dozen mandates that boost premiums by 1% to 3%; two mandates that boost premiums by 3% to 5% and two more that increase premiums by 5% to 10%.  Past research by the National Center for Policy Analysis and other finds up to one-quarter of the uninsured may have been priced out of the market by mandated benefits.

Comments (8)

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  1. Vicki says:

    Sad. And ObamaCare is going to elevate this lobbying frenzy to the national level.

  2. Ken says:

    This is a scandal.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    Far from being “consumer protections” these mandates are generally a giveaway to special interests who descend upon state capitols to lobby for special considerations.

  4. Neil H. says:

    During the debate over ObamaCare, the issue of mandates was completely ignored. Special interests are free to lobby the federal government to get into the minimum benefit package and then I think at the state level they are free to pile on some more.

  5. steve says:

    Should states have the right to make mandates?


  6. Bart I says:

    Don’t states have the same power to make mandates for individual coverage?

    Note: I understand that group plans tend to have higher mandates, if only because employers’ deeper pockets are hard to resist.

  7. Virginia says:

    Here’s an idea: mandate a no-mandate option such that people can opt out of all the junk that is attached to their plan.

  8. Kartik says:

    In the state of Tennessee, insurers are mandated to cover autism treatment – any wonder costs go up. BCBST pays 84 cents for the dollar on medical care.