October 26, 2006|
State Health Insurance Index 2006:
A 50-State Comparison of the Nation’s Health Insurance Market
The Council for Affordable Insurance's latest report, “State Health Insurance Index 2006: A 50-State Comparison of the Nation’s Health Insurance Market,” provides a snapshot of the health insurance environment in each state.
“The purpose of the index is to identify the states that provide a dynamic, competitive market for health insurance, where consumers have a wide range of affordable coverage options,” stated CAHI Director Dr. Merrill Matthews. “Iowa is doing a good job, with several other states running a close second. While in New York, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts, consumers have few health insurance options, and what they do have is very expensive.”**
The Index considers six important measures of state health insurance viability, including the regulatory environment, the number of health insurance mandates, the uninsured, access to a high risk pool and the average premiums in the individual and small group markets.
A separate Methodology, with a full discussion of each Index component and how it was calculated, is available here.
There is a growing momentum behind state health insurance reform. But the public needs to know that state laws have a dramatic impact on the individual and small group health insurance markets. These laws sometimes improve access to affordable coverage, but often they impose needless or burdensome and costly restrictions that can make health insurance unaffordable. Unfortunately, people stuck in the Index’s low-scoring states have very few options. Those states need to fundamentally reform their health insurance system, or Congress may need to step in to give the citizens of those states some alternatives.
“Health insurance may not be cheap in any state,” concluded Dr. Matthews. “But it can be available and affordable if states implement the right policies. The Index helps identify those policies that will increase access to affordable coverage and reduce the number of uninsured.”
* Reflects a change in scores for Arkansas and Arizona due to a data error.
** Does not evaluate Massachusetts’ new reform plan, which is just being implemented.