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Majority of Americans Want Health Insurance Choice: Poll

Crossing state lines to get cheaper rates now illegal 

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A majority of Americans strongly support allowing people to cross state lines to find cheaper health insurance coverage, according to a new Zogby International poll conducted on behalf of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI).

According the poll:

  • 72% of those polled (1,001 likely voters) supported allowing someone living in one state to purchase health insurance from another state, if the insurance is state-regulated and approved. (15% were opposed and 13% were not sure.)

  • 82% said they would be likely to purchase a policy across state lines if they were paying very high rates and needed access to more affordable health insurance policies.

    According to CAHI, health insurance prices are rising, and this is partly caused by state imposed health insurance mandates. While mandates make health insurance more comprehensive, they also make it more expensive because mandates require insurers to pay for care consumers previously funded out of their own pockets. CAHI has identified 1,853 state-imposed health insurance mandates across America.

    In addition, several states have passed guaranteed issue legislation, which requires insurers to accept anyone who applies regardless of health status. Every state that has imposed guaranteed issue in its individual market has seen its health insurance premiums rise significantly and insurers leave the state.

    These mandates and guaranteed issue make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans, disproportionately affecting lower-income workers and minorities, who have less access to employer-provided coverage. As a result, minorities and low-income workers want more health insurance options. According to this poll:

  • 86% of Hispanics and 85% of African Americans are most likely to be in support of allowing people to purchase policies being sold in other states.

  • 80% of single adults and people with annual household incomes between $15,000 and $24,999 support this option.

    Interestingly, Republicans and higher-income workers are more likely to be opposed.

    Current laws prohibit individuals from buying health insurance across state lines. Rather, they must buy what has been approved in their own state.

    “States must lower the cost of health insurance and reduce the number of uninsured by giving their citizens access to a wide range of affordable health policies without all the mandates and restrictions,” stated CAHI Director Dr. Merrill Matthews. “If they refuse, then Congress needs to take action to ensure that all Americans have other options. Judging by the results of this poll, Congress has the support to do just that.”

  • Complete results of the Zogby poll (pdf)
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