Boston, MA – Community Catalyst, a national consumer health advocacy organization, released a guide that will help consumer advocates navigate the difficult waters stirred up by proposals that require people purchase health coverage.  As these individual mandates gain popularity with policymakers across the nation, the guide poses critical questions to determine whether the proposals will result in quality, affordable health care for everyone.

Since Massachusetts enacted an individual mandate in 2006, a number of other states including Maine, California and Maryland have begun considering an individual mandate, a law that requires all residents to enroll in health insurance. While mandates can create harmful effects of a mandate, Community Catalyst offers suggestions to guard against overburdening the people who should benefit from health care reform. 

A Guide to Protecting Consumers Under an Individual Mandate highlights the need for adequate consumer protections in designing mandates, and engages stakeholders and encourages shared responsibility by employers, insurers and providers.  Some of the recommendations include:

• Creating a standard of affordability for health insurance
• Establishing private market reforms such as guaranteeing that insurers cannot deny coverage based on medical history or limiting the variations of premiums based on individual’s health status
• Requiring efficiency in insurance, such as defining the amount insurers must dedicate to patient care while limiting administrative cost
• Ensuring proportional responsibility for financing between employers and individuals

In addition, the report examines Massachusetts’ individual mandate and California’s recent bill that would have created a mandate.  Under the best-case scenario, an individual mandate can be a tool to expand coverage and ensure shared responsibility.  However, unless implemented with sufficient care, an individual mandate can adversely affect the people who struggle under the current system.   

To view the complete report, click A Guide to Protecting Consumers Under an Individual Mandate.

About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.  Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst provides leadership and support to state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations working to change the health care system so it serves everyone—especially vulnerable members of society.