Health Insurance Mandate
HEALTH INSURANCE MANDATE
A health insurance mandate is either an employer or individual mandate to obtain private health insurance instead of (or in addition to) a national health insurance plan.
Healthcare in Australia
Australia ‘s national health insurance program is known as Medicare, and is financed by general taxation including a Medicare levy on earnings; use of Medicare is not compulsory and those who purchase private health insurance get a government-funded rebate on premiums. Individuals with high annual incomes $70,000 in the 2008 federal budget) who do not have specified levels of private hospital coverage are subject to an additional 1% Medicare Levy Surcharge. People of average incomes and below may be eligible for subsidies to buy private insurance, but face no penalty for not buying it. Private insurers must comply with guaranteed issue and community rating requirements but may limit coverage of pre-existing ailments for up to one year to discourage adverse selection.
Health care system in Japan
Japan has a universal health care system that mandates all residents have health insurance, either at work or through a local community-based insurer, but does not impose penalties on individuals for not having insurance. The Japanese health ministry “tightly controls the price of health care down to the smallest detail. Every two years, the doctors and the health ministry negotiate a fixed price for every procedure and every drug. That helps keep premiums to around $280 a month for the average Japanese family.” Insurance premiums are set by the government, with guaranteed issue and community rating. Insurers are not allowed to deny claims or coverage, or to make profits (net revenue is carried over to the next year, and if the carryover is large, the premium goes down). Around 10% evade the compulsory insurance premium; municipal governments do not issue them insurance cards, which providers require Voluntary private insurance is available through several sources including employers and unions to cover expenditures not covered by statutory insurance, but this accounts for only about 2% of health care spending. In practice, doctors will not deny care to patients in the low-priced universal system because they make up the great majority of patients nationwide, and doctors would not be able to earn enough by serving only the small number of patients with private insurance. Total spending is around half the American level, and taxpayers subsidize the poor.
Healthcare in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a health insurance mandate and allows for-profit companies to compete for minimum coverage insurance plans, though there are also mutual insurers so the use of a commercial for-profit insurer is not compulsory. The government regulates the insurers and operates a risk equalization mechanism to subsidize insurers that insure relatively more expensive customers. Several features hold down the level of premiums which facilitate public compliance with the mandate. The cost of health care in the Netherlands is higher than the European average but is less than in the United States. Half of the cost of insurance for adults is paid for by an income-related tax with which goes towards a subsidy of private insurance via the risk reinsurance pool operated by the regulator. The government pays the entire cost for children. Forty percent of the population is eligible for a premium subsidy. About 1.5 percent of the legal population is estimated to be uninsured. The architects of the Dutch mandate did not envision any problem with non-compliance, the initial legislation created few effective sanctions if a person does not take out insurance or pay premiums, and the government is currently developing enforcement mechanisms.
Health care in Switzerland
Switzerland’s system is similar to that of the Netherlands with regulated private insurance companies competing to provide the minimum necessary coverage to meet its mandate. Premiums are not linked to incomes, but the government provides subsidies to lower-class individuals to help them pay for their plans. About 40% of households received some kind of subsidy in 2004. Individuals are free to spend as much as they want for their plans and buy additional health services if desired. The system has virtual universal coverage, with about 99% of people having insurance. The laws behind the system were created in 1996. A recent issue in the country is their rising health care costs, which are higher than European averages. However, those rising costs are still a little less than the increases in the United States.
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the health insurance mandate is either an employer or individual mandate to obtain private health insurance instead of (or in addition to) a national health insurance plan.