Why Is Legislature Trying to Increase Healthcare Costs?

02.11.2010
Issues & Policies

There’s a consistent cry throughout the nation that healthcare costs are too high, so why do the majority of Connecticut legislators vote every year to raise those costs even further?

The Insurance Committee is yet again moving forward nearly a dozen new health benefit mandates this session. Each new mandate means that most small and midsize employers in Connecticut will have to pay more for  healthcare coverage because insurance companies will be required to cover another treatment or procedure. What’s more, mandates unfairly target small businesses.

That’s because state health benefit mandates affect only state-regulated (better known as “fully insured”) plans. Larger companies often can bear the risk associated with self-insuring – exempting them from the mountain of mandates that are raising costs for small companies.

How much do mandates add to health care costs? The Council for Affordable Health Insurance, an independent think-tank, says that health insurance mandates can increase premiums in Connecticut by more than 50% overall.

Even if any single mandate increases overall costs by only a small amount, at a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing and small companies can’t keep up, lawmakers shouldn’t enact anything that will raise costs and make it harder for people to afford health insurance.

In the past, Connecticut has had leaders in the state legislature who understood the negative impact of imposing new mandates on individual and group health insurance and therefore responsibly decided not to add to Connecticut’s mandate mountain.

Connecticut needs leadership like this again if we are truly to reform our healthcare system to improve quality, reduce costs and increase access to healthcare.

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