Here’s a formula for the horizon: repeal mandates, drive down costs

We talk a lot about mandates around here. (If you haven’t noticed, it’s kind of our thing.) Still not sure what one is? It goes a little something like this: the General Assembly implements state-based legislation that requires insurance companies to cover extra benefits. Coverage costs money. As a result, expenses are passed on to the consumer (that’s you) through things like higher premiums — whether you use the benefits or not. 

We repeat: even if you don’t have a need or use for certain benefits, you’re still paying for them.

This is like going to a restaurant and only being hungry enough for a steak, but you’re forced to order and pay for a side of mashed potatoes, green beans, a soft drink, and a dessert — even though you won’t eat any of the extra items.

Impractical right?

At the federal level, legislators are recognizing that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement mandating health insurance drives up costs. However, without a state-based mandate repeal, consumers are left still paying for insurance plans that cover nonessential benefits that aren’t member-specific.

North Carolina currently mandates that every health insurance plan sold must cover 56 specialized healthcare services. This includes benefits for services like marriage therapists, podiatrists, and chiropractors. (If you don’t have foot or back ailments, you’re paying for your neighbor who does.) Another example where mandates just don’t make sense? Women past childbearing years and single men are paying for nurse midwifery along with everyone else — go figure!

Even though these mandates are painted as costs health insurers shoulder, the heavy lifting is being done by folks like you. Every benefit added to the state-based list of mandates adds to the cost of insurance. North Carolina ranks in the top 15 states for a number of imposed mandates. (You do the math.) Repealing mandates would lower the costs for insurance companies, and thus reduce costs for individuals across the board, giving you more money to spend on the healthcare you and your family need. (Last year, three in 10 adults skipped out on getting care due to health costs.)

Want to read one man’s opinion on mandates of any kind — federal or state? Check it out here. Feel the same way? Join us.

Showing 4 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Wendy Wieber
    commented 2017-02-13 15:55:41 -0500
    Hmmm. Insurance is just that. You pay for something you may not need and you aren’t always able to predict the likelihood of needing to cover illnesses/needs. If you already have certain health issues, as much as you may wish it, you can’t go back to when you didn’t have that condition. Punishing those who have pre-existing conditions is a cruel way to lower costs for those who don’t (yet). We all pay anyway through ER visits and other types of social safety nets…or people suffer and die, which also makes us all miserable. High healthcare costs are partially due to government’s inability to effectively negotiate with providers and pharmaceutical companies. If a one payor medical system is out of the question (not for me, but for many who vote and apparently for most of the GOP who wish to profit) then curbing the greed in sensible ways should be investigated. However, one-payor system like that found in many advanced countries (Canada, Germany, Netherlands …) that covers all citizens certainly makes sense to me.
  • Sue Braun
    commented 2017-02-10 01:20:01 -0500
    You could not be more wrong on every level. You go to a restaurant and only want the steak instead of the steak dinner and you may only get a steak, but you can better believe you were charged for the entire meal. Cost sharing is essential. Looking out for each other is essential. Penalties for not enrolling are essential or those not insured will use the emergency room. That translates to higher costs for everyone. This article could not be more biased for all of the wrong reasons. Insurance premiums have been go up at an alarming rate for 30 years now, so stop blaming the ACA and start blaming all the greed involved.
  • Donna Ambriano
    commented 2017-02-09 15:21:24 -0500
    OMG, so if I’m not a man I don’t have to pay because you cover Viagra?!?? This is selfishness at its best. Just because I don’t need a podiatrist doesn’t mean someone with diabetes who’s suffering from neuropathic pain doesn’t. And if coverage wasn’t mandated, guess what? That person would have to pay out of pocket, insurance companies wouldn’t cover it, and the entire cost burden would fall on the patient. So who’s really benefiting? Fat-cat insurance companies and their paid lap dog lobbyists, like you.
  • Denise Shungu
    commented 2017-02-09 09:56:28 -0500
    That is what insurance is, isn’t it? I pay for something you need that I will never need if you will pay for what I need that you will never need. My family does not have diabetes in its medical history and I am unlikely to ever need it. By your reasoning, I should not be paying for someone else’s diabetic care. Of course you don’t want to go too far but I don’t think they have.


Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.