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Refuting Misconceptions About Health Insurance Mandates
Date:4/21/2009

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Costs to families and businesses are increasing everywhere from the local grocery store to the neighborhood gas station. That is why it is more important than ever to keep health care affordable and accessible to all Oklahomans.

Holding down the costs of health care may seem like an impossible task, but controlling costs is a challenge we can meet if all stakeholders - consumers, employers, health care professionals, policymakers and health insurers - work together to find solutions.

What are health plan cost drivers?

Increases in your health plan premiums are driven by many outside influences including:

  • general inflation
  • increased utilization of services due to increased consumer demand
  • new medical treatments
  • more diagnostic testing (due in part to the practice of defensive medicine)
  • an aging population and increasingly unhealthy lifestyles
  • increased costs of labor and higher priced technologies
  • government mandated premium increases in the form of mandated offerings, and
  • government mandated contract terms between private entities

Oklahoma citizens can make an impact by addressing the last two drivers. The Affordable Access to Health Care Coalition encourages citizens to contact their state legislators and ask them to stop legislating premium increases through mandated offerings and contracting requirements.

What is a government mandated premium increase?

When the government mandates that certain items be included in your contract, it results in an increase in your or your employer's health care plan premium due to the increased cost. The Oklahoma Legislature has mandated many items in past years, often including those that serve a small percentage of individuals or special interest groups.

Employers seeking to offer attractive benefit packages to their employees are limited in their choices by mandated benefit packages. Rather than providing a "one size fits all approach," the government should instead allow employers to analyze their costs versus coverage with their health insurer to put together a benefit package that is tailored to meet the needs of their employees.

While mandates may be well intentioned, the required added costs they generate make health insurance less affordable. By refusing additional health insurance mandates, legislators are protecting the best interests of consumers and small businesses who could become priced out of the market by increased costs.

For more information about these cost drivers and to learn how you can help be a part of the solution, visit www.affordableaccesstohealthcare.org.

The Affordable Access to Health Care coalition is comprised of members dedicated to providing an accurate source of information about health care funding, financing and coverage in Oklahoma.


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SOURCE Affordable Access to Health Care Coalition
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