After Individual Mandate Eliminated, What Options Exist At State Level?

Jan 26, 2018

The Affordable Care Act required Americans to carry some form of health insurance. But the new federal tax bill will eliminate what’s called an “individual mandate” for the 2019 tax year.

Connecticut’s Healthcare Advocate Ted Doolittle said insurance only works when everyone is “in the system” and that’s why the Affordable Care Act sought to provide affordable care for all by taxing those who didn’t sign up for coverage.

“If you show up at the hospital, they’re going to take care of you and that care isn’t free. What is a hospital going to do?” Doolittle said. “They have to get the money from the other paying customer. So, those among us who are fortunate enough to be insured, your premium is going to go up.”

He said that when an uninsured patient is treated, it drives up the cost for people who do carry health insurance.

Doolittle recently wrote an op-ed for CT News Junkie offering a solution to replace the individual mandate. He said Connecticut forcing uninsured residents to save money for themselves, rather than be subject to a federal tax, is “something better” than the individual mandate.

“You’re required to pay into an account that’s like a health care savings account where the money is in your name and you control it, but you can only spend it on health care expenses or on health insurance,” Doolittle said.

He estimated that between five and 10 percent of Connecticut residents currently don’t have health insurance.