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Zack Hutchins
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May 6, 2004

Insurers' group: Lawmakers have proposed 80 new insurance mandates

State lawmakers have proposed 80 new health insurance mandates in the current legislative session alone, according to an analysis by the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

Health insurance mandates are laws that require health insurance policies to cover visits to specific practitioners or coverage for specific ailments. The Council opposes mandates because they inflate insurance costs and make it likelier that employers and individuals won't be able to afford any health-insurance coverage.

Mandates proposed this session include the so-called mental-health parity mandate, a substance-abuse parity mandate, an expansion of an existing chiropractic mandate, and an "early intervention program" mandate, the Conference of Plans said in a May 4 release. These mandates would have "a profound impact on health insurance premiums and the cost of doing business in New York," the release said.

The most controversial mandate proposal is the mental-health mandate. Two separate industry estimates say this mandate would increase premiums by at least 3 percent. Every 1 percent of increase in premium costs puts health-insurance coverage out of reach for an estimated 30,000 New Yorkers.

The Conference of Plans also said: