The State Should Keep The Mandate
Both the U.S. House and Senate versions of the tax bill include a repeal of the individual mandate, which imposes a penalty on those who go without health insurance. This is expected to destabilize Obamacare by encouraging healthy people to postpone buying health insurance, resulting in a less healthy pool of people, causing premiums to rise and encouraging more insurers to withdraw from this market.
The last thing Connecticut needs is even higher premiums and fewer insurers participating in its Access Health CT insurance exchange.
My familyâs Cigna policy is being canceled at the end of this year because Cigna is withdrawing from writing individual health insurance policies in Connecticut. There are now only two insurers in Connecticut in this market (Anthem and Connecticare), and my familyâs premium for next year is significantly higher.
One way Connecticut legislators could address this potentially disastrous situation (which will largely result from Republicans in Washington desperate for any accounting gimmick to help them maximize tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals) would be to reimpose the individual insurance mandate at a state level. The penalty paid by those who forgo purchasing insurance could go to state instead of federal coffers and could be applied toward health care for needy residents of the state.
I urge Connecticut legislators to adopt this simple approach to counteract the ill-advised removal of the federal individual mandate and forestall the destabilization of these markets, higher premiums and possible eventual death spiral.
Paul Bradshaw, Westport