Insurers Not Happy With Loss of the Individual Mandate

It always comes down to the young invincibles. Those younger and healthier people who need to enter the insurance risk pools in order to make any version of health care reform work. Their relative absence from the ACA is partly credited with the exorbitant rise in premiums seen recently and the reason many health insurers won’t participate in state exchanges next year.

The Senate yesterday added a provision to its health care plan that it hopes will calm jittery insurers worried that the elimination of the individual mandate would encourage young invincibles to not buy health insurance. That provision mandates a waiting period for people who attempt to purchase coverage after a gap of 63 days or more, the Wall Street Journal reports. Proponents hope that this addresses what many see as a flaw in Obamacare; allowing people to buy coverage only when they get sick and then dropping it when they get better. Despite these problems, some insurers say that the individual mandate did encourage some younger people to get coverage.

Paul Markovich, the chief executive of Blue Shield of California, tells the newspaper that while the new continuous-coverage provision is helpful, he would “like to see more.”

“I don’t think that’s as strong an incentive for individuals to stay in the pool’” as the individual mandate, he tells the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Wall Street Journal