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

February 08, 2017

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.

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