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How Obamacare Coverage Varies by State

Posted on October 30, 2012 by admin

As a citizen of the United States, the Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate requires you to purchase health insurance. However, you might not have been aware of how much coverage varies from state to state.

A recent study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates that health insurance components differ substantially depending on where you live in the country.

Infertility treatments, bariatric surgery and weight loss programs: not all states require health insurance plans to cover these. Nevertheless, there are the states that do.

Of the 50 states in the United States, only five require health plans to feature programs for weight loss. From Alabama to Wyoming, only 19 states require insurance plans to feature infertility treatment. The first truth of these statistics is that people with certain conditions can benefit greatly from living in specific states. Co-author of the study and Associate Director for Health Policy at the Leonard Davis Institute Janet Weiner calls attention to another fact. She says that the discrepancies in coverage have been brought on by the fact that each state had evolved to better suit the specific needs of its residents. In other words, the battles to require the coverage of these services have been fought.

With these state-specific health insurance requirements established long before Obamacare, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study demonstrates that coverage from state to state is far from uniform, but Weiner says balancing the equation could prove unwise.

She notes that the fight to get certain treatments covered at the state level has been “pretty bloody.” Taking the battle to the federal level would be even more so. In addition, it would require that the federal government spend more money on programs and services that certain states have already decided are not “mandatory.”

Backlash from the states would be inevitable if the Obama administration involved themselves in this debate. Given the approaching enrollment period on November 15, President Obama cannot afford to address this issue at the present moment. It is a problem that must be dealt with in the near future, and because of the high cost associated with services that are not covered in certain states, the President must resolve the matter decisively.