Ohio Chamber Makes the Case for Health Insurance Mandate Relief

About a month ago, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation released the findings of its quarterly business leader’s survey. For the fourth consecutive quarter, the cost of health care was the top issue of concern to Ohio business leaders. This didn’t come as much of a surprise, as health care costs are a top concern in just about any survey of business leaders.

The reason is pretty simple: average premiums for employer-sponsored health care have gone up 19 percent in the past five years and 55 percent in the past decade.

That’s why HB 450 is one of the Ohio Chamber’s top legislative priorities. HB 450 protects against health insurance becoming even less affordable and accessible for many Ohioans by providing health care mandate relief and protection against future mandates.

For decades, the Ohio Chamber has led the fight against a constant barrage of bills that would mandate health insurance plans cover one type of benefit or another. While many times we’ve been successful, there are still more than 30 health insurance mandates in the Ohio Revised Code today.

How much a particular mandate impacts your insurance premium may vary, but there’s no doubt that health insurance mandates contribute to rising employer health care premiums.

This week, the Ohio Chamber testified in favor of HB 450 in front of the members of the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee. HB 450 ensures existing mandates as well as their costs are periodically reviewed and provides health insurance purchasers with additional transparency by requiring insurance premium invoices to contain a statement informing purchasers how much higher their premium likely is due to all of the benefits mandated by the state. Perhaps most important, the bill stipulates that no new mandated benefit shall be enacted unless four specific conditions are met.

Ideally, lawmakers would look beyond politically expedient solutions like health insurance mandates and oppose any new ones. Because they don’t always do so, now is the time to enact HB 450 and put in place some guardrails for when, inevitably, the push for the next mandate comes along.