Sunday, May 14, 2006


Thank you, Vermont legislators, for making it impossible to find a competitively priced health plan in Vermont.

Vermont is one of at least 4 states that mandate "guaranteed issue" individual health insurance.

I am self-employed and recently went shopping for health insurance on the Internet in order to compare pricing and service. What I quickly discovered is that citizens in most states enjoy the opportunity to buy insurance from reputable national firms at rates significantly lower than what I am able to purchase in Vermont. This is because Vermont has previously passed legislation that prohibits competitive insurance pricing.

Market forces come in to play in most states where carriers are allowed to underwrite risk and price accordingly. The guaranteed issue states essentially are telling a carrier a 55 year old non-smoking jogger should pay the same rate as a smoker with advance stage lung cancer.

Vermont law requires health insurance companies who wish to do business in our state to cover anyone at any time and for any reason. The insurance industry calls this practice "guaranteed issue." On top of guaranteed issue, we also require health care premiums to be priced the same for the sick as for the healthy. The insurance industry calls this "community rating."

Our community rating law requires that we all pay a high price for this foolish practice. Yet, we wonder why many of our young, and those who are otherwise healthy, choose not to pay inflated health insurance premiums and would rather be counted as uninsured.

Health insurance costs for the few states that have established "community rating" and/or "guaranteed issue" laws have the highest health premiums in the nation without any improvement in health status, reduction in the cost of health services or decreases in the numbers of uninsured.

Quite frankly, by not getting rid of our community rating and guaranteed issue practices, our legislators are only arranging the deck chairs on a titanic health care problem.

James T. Rude

I could not have said it better myself . . .
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