U.S. has more than 2,000 insurance mandates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 22, 2013

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The number of state health insurance requirements has surpassed 2,000 nationwide, a result of two decades of steady increases in regulation, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance has determined.

Insurers operating under such mandates must offer certain types of benefits, cover certain patient populations or contract with certain health care professionals. The report stated that these requirements increase the cost of health insurance because insurers “have to pay for care consumers previously funded out of their own pockets.” About 850 mandates existed across the 50 states in 1992; now there are 2,271, an increase of 167%, said Victoria Craig Bunce, CAHI’s research and policy director. The council represents insurers, small businesses and others.

“Based on our annual analysis, mandated benefits currently increase the cost of basic health coverage from slightly less than 10% to more than 50%, depending on the state, specific legislative language, and type of health insurance policy,” Bunce said.

States with the largest numbers of mandated benefits are Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Virginia, while Idaho had the least number of mandates. Some mandates for certain types of medical benefits were more popular than others. All 50 states had mandates for mammography screening and maternity minimum stays, while only one state had a mandate for cardiovascular disease screening.

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