NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some States Are Removing Insurance Coverage Mandates

March 18, 2002

Year after year, in all 50 states, legislators have added new insurance requirements covering everything from acupuncture to well-child care. The proliferation of these mandated items of health coverage has driven up premium costs to the point where they have forced many Americans to forgo coverage. Medical interest groups -- from chiropractors to optometrists -- have often led the push to pile on these extra items.

But now some state legislators seem to be wising up, observers say.

  • Last year Arkansas and North Dakota passed mandate relief laws letting insurers offer no-frills coverage at a more affordable price.
  • Now 12 more states are considering relief from the mandates.
  • Otherwise, large multi-state employers and people on Medicaid and Medicare are often exempted from the mandates -- leaving about 25 percent of people to bear 100 percent of their extra costs, usually small-business owners and individuals who must purchase their own coverage.
  • So almost two million Americans lost their insurance coverage last year -- the largest increase in the number of uninsured in almost a decade.

Medical-policy experts point out that insurance was originally designed to cover the huge, unexpected costs of serious diseases and accidents. But mandates have changed insurance from risk protection to prepaid health care.

Source: Betsy McCaughey, "States Look to Cut Red Tape to Ease Crisis of Uninsured," Investors' Business Daily, March 15, 2002.


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