Mandatory health insurance – individual mandate
Mandatory health insurance is a requirement, under certain healthcare laws or proposals, that all citizens have health insurance. It is also known as the individual mandate. In many cases, people who do not buy or otherwise receive health insurance will be fined. The standards for the employer and the individual cover can vary in different cases. In the United States, compulsory health insurance is part of some state laws and the federal health insurance reform law of 2010.
All insurance, including health insurance, works on the principle that many people share the risk of certain events. In the United States, many people less than the age of 30 have chosen not to buy health insurance. This has led to an elderly population that is more widely insured, but also more prone to care for health problems. Also, as many choose not to buy insurance, the price of the individual’s health care plans has probably remained higher than it would otherwise. Proponents of compulsory health insurance argue that everyone requiring health insurance would therefore lower costs for everyone.
In addition to lower costs, an individual mandate can also extend coverage. The coverage will be extended because individuals may choose to purchase their own health insurance instead of paying fines. This could lower the cost of making those who need smaller insurance companies, especially young people, share in the cost of health insurance. Also, the uninsured tends to raise the price to health care for others because they cannot pay doctors and hospitals when they have health problems. It can force healthcare providers to close the gap by raising the prices of others.
There are many criticisms of compulsory health insurance. In the United States, a criticism is that the government should not or does not have the power to force people to buy something. Others say the law would be too difficult to implement. Affordable prices, penalties, and plans would qualify are also issues.
In the past, individual states in the United States have made mandatory health insurance part of state law. Hawaii state law has required employers to provide full-time health insurance since 1974. The effectiveness of the Hawaiian law has been the subject of debate. In 2009, as part of the Massachusetts health care reform, the state required all citizens to receive health insurance. Those who cannot be penalized unless they cannot afford it. Mandatory health insurance is less discussed in other Western countries, where the government provides basic health care for everyone.