Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

The Cost of Health Insurance Mandates

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Mar• 30•10

Health insurance mandates increase health insurance cost.  By compelling insurance companies to cover certain medical treatments, cost inevitably rise.  Of course the people who receive these treatments benefit while those who do not must pay additional premiums.  A recent paper by the Pacific Research Institute summarizes the findings of various studies of the impact of mandates on health insurance premiums.

  • CBO (2000): 4 to 9 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • Graham (2008): 5 to 23 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • Bunce and Wieske (2009): 20 to 50 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • New (2006): 15 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • Congdon et al. (2006): 0.3 to 0.7 percent of premiums, per mandate above 20
  • Wisconsin OCI (2002): 1 to 3 percent of premiums, five specific mandates aggregated
  • GAO (2003): 3 to 5 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • Krohm and Grossman (1990): 0.2 percent of claims, specific mandated benefits
  • Maryland HCC (2006): 2 percent of premiums, all mandates aggregated
  • Maryland HCC (2008): 0.01 to 1 percent of premiums per each of five specific mandates

Of course, the actual mandate will affect the increase in premiums. For instance, a mandate to cover one specific vaccine likely would provide only a small increase in premiums, especially since many insurance policies would already cover this treatment. On the other hand, a mandate to cover all forms of cancer treatment for all types of cancer likely would drive up premiums significantly.  What one can conclude from the above studies is that mandates do increase cost.  The degree to which health insurance premiums increase, however, is not a settled matter.

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One Comment

  1. [...] He deserves some credit for reviewing literature and posting references. His post today on the effect on premiums of health insurance benefits mandates is a good example. Here’s an excerpt.* A recent paper by the Pacific Research Institute [...]

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