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:
already on the books increase premiums by 12.2 percent,
or an increase in individual coverage of more than $400
a year and more than $1,000 a year in family coverage.
national study found that 20-25 percent of uninsured Americans
lack coverage because of benefit mandates.
the 50 states, New York has the third-highest average annual
cost of employment-based health insurance for family coverage
and eighth highest for single coverage.
states had a higher proportion of its population under age
65 covered by private health insurance than New York in
2002, the most recent year for which data are available.
- Nearly 18 percent of New Yorkers under age 65, about three million New Yorkers, had no health insurance in 2002.