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New AHIP Report Takes a Ten Year Look at the Unintended Consequences of State Efforts to Change the Insurance Market
Date:9/7/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As states consider proposals to expand access to health care coverage, a new study assesses the impact of prior efforts in states across the country. Over the past decade, numerous states have launched "insurance reforms" with significant unintended consequences. A number of these initiatives were repealed or significantly changed within a few years of implementation. The study by Milliman, Inc. on behalf of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) examined what happened.

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Specifically, the report examined eight states that enacted various forms of "guarantee issue" and "community rating" in the 1990's, including Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington. The report found that these initiatives can have unexpectedly negative consequences for consumers, and can limit access to coverage.

"This report offers important lessons. It demonstrates that insurance reforms without universal access drives up health care costs for consumers and encourages individuals who have health insurance to drop insurance and take the financial risk of being uninsured," said Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP.

Guarantee issue requires insurers to sell an individual health insurance policy without regard to a person's health and community rating requires that all consumers pay the same or similar premiums without regard to age or gender. According to the report, these initiatives have the potential to cause individuals to wait until they have health problems to buy insurance. This could cause premiums to increase for all policyholders, increasing the likelihood that lower-risk individuals leave the market, which could lead to further rate increases. If this continues, the pool or market could essentially collapse or
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SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans
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