TAHP Supports More Affordable Health Insurance Options

Alicia Pierce

For Immediate Release Dec. 15, 2022
Contact: Alicia Pierce apierce@tahp.org

This week, Rep. Capriglione filed legislation to give Texas employers the flexibility to select the best value in health insurance for their employees. HB 1001 would allow health plans to offer coverage that meets all the protections of insurance but is exempt from mandates that go beyond federal requirements.

What they’re saying: “Texas ranks third for the state with the most health care mandates, and it pushes the cost of coverage out of reach for more and more employers,” said Jamie Dudensing, CEO of the Texas Association of Health Plans. “This bill allows health plans to offer more affordable insurance that still covers all the essential health benefits without the added cost of extra regulation.”

What would the bill do?

  • Allow health insurers to offer new plans that are not subject to any state requirements that go beyond what is required by federal law and the coverage state elected officials approve for themselves.
  • Requires health plans to offer this mandate-lite coverage in addition to plans that meet all government-imposed mandates—so employers and families always have a choice in selecting coverage

Overregulation and mandates hinder innovation and add costs to an already expensive system—forcing employers and families to bear the cost of one-size-fits-all coverage. Families and businesses have one big ask in health care—make it more affordable. Under HB 1001, employers will have more flexibility to choose insurance plans that meet their needs. 

In 2021, Texas reached a high-water mark for the number of mandates placed on health insurance. Following the session, Texans saw a 13% increase in premiums, while around the nation, year-over-year premiums were flat. In a Texas Association of Business survey, 87% of employers say that healthcare costs are rising at an unsustainable rate

This bill is especially important for small businesses in Texas. Most large employer coverage is self-funded, which means it is not regulated by the state. 

We know this concept can work because Texas tried it before with impressive results. In  2003, Texas lawmakers recognized the same problem we have today and first established mandate-lite coverage. But over the years new regulations and requirements ate away at those efforts. 

From 2004-08, more than 8,000 employers used those early mandate-lite options to cover previously uninsured groups. In 2004, Scott & White had a 26.5 percent reduction in insurance premiums. HMOs indicated a  savings of up to  26.5%  and PPOs indicated a savings of up to 38%.

“I want to thank Chairman Capriglione for filing this bill that gives health plans the opportunity to provide Texas employers with additional, more affordable options for health insurance,” said Dudensing.

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