ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) released the 2008 edition of "Health Insurance Mandates in the States." According to the study, the number of state mandated benefits continues to grow -- to 1,961 nationwide, up from 1,901 last year. "Policymakers are increasingly focusing on how to reduce the number of uninsured Americans," stated CAHI Director Dr. Merrill Matthews. "Ironically, these same policymakers continue to pass laws that drive up the cost of coverage and make policies unaffordable for millions of Americans." A health insurance mandate is a requirement that an insurance company cover specific health care providers, benefits or patient populations. While mandates make health insurance more comprehensive, they also make it more expensive because mandates require insurers to pay for care consumers previously funded out of their own pockets. Based on our analysis, mandated benefits currently increase the cost of basic health coverage from a little less than 20% to more than 50%, depending on the state and the specific legislative language. The study's authors, CAHI Research and Policy Director Victoria C. Bunce, State Affairs Director J.P. Wieske and Government Affairs Assistant Lawrence J. Siedlick, track hundreds of mandate bills and identify those that actually pass. The study also includes an estimate, provided by a team of health actuaries, of how much each mandate adds to the cost of a health insurance policy. "At a time when policymakers are complaining about the high cost of health insurance, CAHI wants state legislators to know they are responsible for the mandate explosion, and what those mandates do to the cost and availability of health insurance. We hope this publication will encourage them to refrain from exacerbating the problem of health insurance costs and the uninsured," concluded Matthews. A copy of the 2008 edition of "Health Insurance Mandates in the States" is available on CAHI's website, http://www.cahi.org. Also available on the web site are corresponding documents: "Trends in State Mandated Benefits" and "Mandated Benefit Definition Memo." Founded in 1992, CAHI is a non-profit research and advocacy association whose mission is to develop and promote free market solutions to America's health care challenges. CAHI's membership includes health insurance companies (active in the individual, small group, HSA and senior markets), small businesses, physicians, actuaries and insurance brokers.
SOURCE Council for Affordable Health Insurance