A project of the George Washington University's Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Georgetown and RWJF report examines private health insurance across state lines

Posted on October 4, 2012 | No Comments

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A new brief authored by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) considers the private health insurance market across state lines. While some people support the idea of allowing private health insurance to be sold “across states lines” because it can increase the availability and affordability of health insurance coverage by allowing consumers to purchase products approved in other states, others argue that proposals to sell insurance across state lines would lead to deregulation and a “race to the bottom” where health insurers relocate to the states with the least burdensome regulations. To better understand the effects of allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, the researchers analyzed legislation enacted in six states. According to the authors, none of the laws in the six states resulted in a single insurer entering a new market, or the sale of a single new insurance product. The authors argue that it is because supporters considerably underestimated the administrative hurdles necessary for full implementation. Although the findings are limited in context, the authors say the findings hold insight into what might happen if similar legislation were enacted at the federal level.

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