A new report by the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) finds across all 50 states, the number of mandated benefits that states require insurers to include in all group health plan benefit packages has increased to 2,156. States have the power to determine (i.e. mandate) which services and service providers must be covered in group health plans. For instance, more than one-third of states require insurers pay for marriage and family counseling. In vitro fertilization is mandated in 15 states. Acupuncture must be covered in a dozen states; ten states require insurers to cover hair prosthesis for cancer patients. Three states require that insurers reimburse providers of oriental medicine, while two states even require coverage for massage therapists.
According to the CAHI analysis, although most mandated benefits increase the cost of premiums by less than 1%, there are some two-dozen mandates that boost premiums by 1% to 3%; two mandates that boost premiums by 3% to 5% and two more that increase premiums by 5% to 10%. Past research by the National Center for Policy Analysis and other finds up to one-quarter of the uninsured may have been priced out of the market by mandated benefits.