Insurers in Arizona won't have coverage mandates

Health insurers in Arizona would no longer be required to cover certain conditions, and insurers licensed in other states could issue policies in Arizona without having to follow current coverage mandates if a new proposed bill becomes law.

Since out-of-state insurers could have a competitive advantage if they're based in a state with few or no coverage mandates, Arizona lawmakers wanted to help level the playing field by adding a controversial amendment that would waive the state's insurance mandates too, reports the Arizona Republic.

That means insurers wouldn't have to cover the more than 30 mandated conditions Arizona currently requires, including chiropractic care, minimum allowed hospital stays for women giving birth, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and treatments for autism, according to the Daily Reporter.

Supporters of the bill think it will help drive down insurance costs, while opponents fear it will lead to insurers covering fewer conditions. Rep. David Smith, who introduced the measure, said it's possible Arizona health insurers may find a way to write policies that cover conditions listed in Arizona's mandates, such as autism, and do it cheaper than companies in other states, notes the Republic.

"This is a very unusual move by a state. It's an odd thing to do," said health policy expert Dr. Joe Gerald, director of the undergraduate program in public health at the University of Arizona's Zuckerman College of Public Health. While other states allow out-of-state companies to sell insurance, they typically are subject to regulations in the state where they are selling. He added that just because out-of-state health insurers may not be subject to Arizona mandates, they won't all necessarily have cheaper policies, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Other states considering legislation to allow residents to purchase insurance across state lines include George and Montana, the Reporter notes.

To learn more:
- read the Arizona Republic story
- check out the Arizona Daily Star article
- see the Daily Reporter piece