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CAHI Stands by Its Principles for Health Insurance Reform

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) implied that the health insurance industry had decided to support an "individual mandate," which requires everyone to buy health insurance or pay a fine, combined with "guaranteed issue," meaning that everyone must be accepted regardless of health status.

But the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), which has several health insurance company members, remains adamantly opposed to these "reforms," because they invite the government to micromanage health insurance policies, reduce consumer choices and dramatically drive up the cost of coverage.

Like others, CAHI wants to see the uninsured obtain coverage. But we believe that problem is best addressed by ensuring that consumers have access to a wide range of affordable policies, along with appropriate subsidies for those who can't afford coverage and a well-functioning safety net such as high risk pools, already adopted in 34 states, that ensure the sick always have access to coverage.

Since its inception in 1992, CAHI has warned that mandated coverage and guaranteed issue destroy the individual (i.e., non-group) health insurance market. Although the political winds may have changed, CAHI's principles remain the same.

While these changes are often billed as "pro-consumer," they are anything but. The evidence demonstrates that consumers are hurt by them.

If the government mandates people have coverage or be fined, then politicians must determine what is "qualified coverage," so that people know whether they are breaking the law.

When politicians start micromanaging insurance coverage, everyone with a product, service or a need begins to lobby those politicians to ensure their special interest, however deserving, is included -- which drives up the cost of coverage.

It also means that coverage options that may be out of political favor -- e.g., Health Savings Accounts, high deductible policies, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or other consumer driven options -- could face significant hurdles intended to limit their adoption, if not explicitly exclude them.

Finally, an individual mandate has been tried in only one state, and it has yet to achieve its objective: universal coverage.

For our part, CAHI believes that consumers, not politicians, should make their own decisions about which coverage options best fit their needs. And we believe consumer satisfaction, not political favoritism, should determine which policies thrive and fail in the marketplace.

Founded in 1992, CAHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy association whose mission is to promote access, affordability and choice in American health care. CAHI's membership includes health insurance companies (active in the individual, small group, HSA and senior markets), small businesses, physicians, actuaries and insurance producers and brokers.

SOURCE Council for Affordable Health Insurance
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