Thursday, October 22, 2009

To Cut Your Health Insurance Costs, Move

How much do state-level insurance regulations raise the costs? As Steve Malanga notes, a lot. Here are a few excerpts from, "To Cut Your Health Insurance Costs, Move":
...[T]he trade group for the nation's insurers, America's Health Insurance Plans, estimated that the average premium for family coverage in the individual market nationally was $5,800. But the study found wide disparities in costs, ranging from average premiums north of $12,000 in New York and Massachusetts to premiums costing on average only $3,000 to $5,000 in more than a dozen states. Some states have even allowed insurers to introduce low-cost, high-deductible policies that can cost under $1,000 a year.

It's fair to say that the costs imposed by some states based on how they regulate health insurance are now a bigger burden on individuals and small and mid-sized firms than state and local taxes.

...There's no evidence that states garner any benefit from such regulation and mandates. States with numerous mandates don't have healthier populations, for instance. Indeed, many state mandates are enacted for political reasons that have little to do with health care outcomes. Several years ago New York's then-Governor Pataki signed into law the state's hefty in vitro fertilization mandate as a payoff to conservative religious groups whose members favor big families and lobbied heavily for the law. It's a rather classic example of how, when you vest such power in lawmakers, some will eventually abuse it.
(Read the full text of "To Cut Your Health Insurance Costs, Move".)

These increased costs are a result of the government usurping the individual's right to spend his own money for his own benefit according to his best judgment.

Extending these onerous regulations to the national level (as the President and Congress propose) will only make the problem worse, not better.