Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group

Letter to the Editor

Title: Expanded Autism coverage will increase consumer costs

Date: January 11, 2010 
To the editor: 

For small businesses the start of a new decade worsened an already critical problem when many faced increases in their health insurance premiums ranging from 17-25%. 

Many factors contribute to health insurance costs, one being health insurance mandates that require certain types of coverage and set policy for basic coverage standards. The autism mandate, the topic of a forum Saturday in Clifton Park, is an example of one such mandate. 

Each year, state leaders consider hundreds of mandate proposals without adequate knowledge on how they will impact health insurance premiums. New York State has a tool to provide information about the cost and medical efficacy of all coverage mandate proposals – the Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission. Adopted in 2006, this independent body is charged with evaluating mandate proposals before a vote is made. 

Two years have passed since its inception and the commission has not convened, nor, have all 13 commissions been appointed. In these fragile economic times, it is critical for state leaders to be prudent and determine the financial and medical impact of any health insurance mandate legislation before proceeding on any other action. Failure to do so could result in decreased coverage for the very people this law is intended to help. 

Scott Miller, chair
Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care