Government Intervention in Health Care Increases Costs

Kathryn Nix /

Yesterday, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) released its annual report on health insurance mandates in the states. They report that mandated benefits—i.e., medical procedures that states require insurance providers to cover—across the 50 states are on the rise, jumping from 2,133 in 2009 to 2,156 in 2010. But that’s just part of the story.

The report also shows that mandated benefits increase the cost of health insurance and by how much. This should come as no surprise. Requiring insurers to offer a higher value product comes at a higher expense.

Lawmakers across the 50 states have determined that benefits such as the following are necessary to include in essential health coverage: in vitro fertilization (15 states), oriental medicine (three states), services provided by acupuncturists (12 states), athletic trainers (three states), and massage therapists (two states). While CAHI does not pass judgment on the necessity of any of the mandates, it is clear that not all patients need these kinds of benefits, much less want to pay for them. (more…)