Four health benefit mandates are still being considered as the legislature heads into its final week of the 2014 session. Health benefit mandates--procedures and services the state requires insurance carriers to cover in their plans–lead to higher premium costs.
While each health benefit mandate is designed to help a certain group of people, it’s an unfortunate reality that each mandate also drives up the cost of health insurance. And, especially now with the state's health care costs ranked the 4th highest in the nation this is a real problem.
Since affordability is key to access health insurance, more health benefit mandates (because of their associated costs) mean it’s more expensive to buy health insurance in Connecticut.
What’s more, new health benefit mandates adopted this year will also be a direct cost to the state. Under federal healthcare legislation, any new health benefit mandate the state enacts will directly cost the state for individuals receiving subsidies from the state’s exchange (Access Health).
So, not only will more mandates mean higher premiums, they also will cost the state more money.
Furthermore, mandates directly impact small businesses that fully-insure because the state regulates their plans while employers who self- insure (typically larger employers) are exempt from state insurance mandate requirements.
And instead of looking at new mandates and their fiscal impact a few at a time, lawmakers should review the complete list of existing mandates in Connecticut. Certainly, some mandates do help drive healthcare efficiency but the state’s current system of reviewing only a few mandates each year is not creating the type of healthcare efficiency Connecticut needs and craves.