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Saturday, 12th July 2008

From Heart Transplants to Hairpieces: The Questionable Benefits of State Benefit Mandates for Health Insurance

From Heart Transplants to Hairpieces: The Questionable Benefits of State Benefit Mandates for Health Insurance
Source: Pacific Research Institute
From press release:

The Pacific Research Institute today released the findings of a new report reviewing the impact of state benefit mandates on the uninsured. According to From Heart Transplants to Hairpieces: The Questionable Benefits of State Benefit Mandates for Health Insurance, benefit mandates increase health insurance premiums, reduce wages, increase working hours for employees, and deprive some workers of health benefits altogether.
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A benefit mandate is a state law that requires a health plan to pay for, or at least offer, a specified treatment or type of provider, removing the benefit from negotiation between beneficiaries and health plans. For example, a mandate may require a health plan to cover treatment of alcoholism, or chiropractic services.

John R. Graham, director of Health Care Studies and author of the study, concluded that roughly one additional benefit mandate explains an increase in the number of uninsured by about .25 percent. “While the evidence shows that state benefit mandates increase the number of uninsured, inconsistencies in the data make it difficult to measure the exact magnitude of the impact.”

In 2007, there were 1,594 state mandates, averaging 32 mandates per state. This marks a significant increase from 1979, when there were just 252 mandate laws in force – an average of only five per state. Among the benefit mandates introduced since 2000 are: hearing aids, hormone replacement therapy, and reimbursement for clinical trial participation.

+ Full Report (PDF; 520 KB)


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