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In some industries, the U.S. government has decided free markets will not provide insurance at an affordable price, and so the government pays for it directly. For example, private health insurance is too expensive for many people whose incomes are too low. To combat this, the U.S. government, together with the states, runs the Medicaid program, which provides health care to those with low incomes. Private health insurance also does not work well for the elderly, because their average health care costs can be very high. Thus, the U.S. government started the Medicare program, which provides health insurance to all those over age 65. Other government-funded health-care programs are aimed at military veterans, as an added benefit, and children in families with relatively low incomes.

Another common government intervention in insurance markets is to require that everyone buy certain kinds of insurance. For example, most states legally require car owners to buy auto insurance. Likewise, when a bank loans someone money to buy a home, the person is typically required to have homeowner’s insurance, which protects against fire and other physical damage (like hailstorms) to the home. A legal requirement that everyone must buy insurance means that insurance companies do not need to worry that those with low risks will avoid buying insurance. Since insurance companies do not need to fear adverse selection, they can set their prices based on an average for the market, and those with lower risks will, to some extent, end up subsidizing those with higher risks. However, even when laws are passed requiring people to purchase insurance, insurance companies cannot be compelled to sell insurance to everyone who asks—at least not at low cost. Thus, insurance companies will still try to avoid selling insurance to those with high risks whenever possible.

The government cannot pass laws that make the problems of moral hazard and adverse selection disappear, but the government can make political decisions that certain groups should have insurance, even though the private market would not otherwise provide that insurance. Also, the government can impose the costs of that decision on taxpayers or on other buyers of insurance.

The patient protection and affordable care act

In March of 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) . This highly contentious law began to be phased in over time starting in October of 2013. The goal of the act is to bring the United States closer to universal coverage. Some of the key features of the plan include:

  • Individual mandate: All individuals, who do not receive health care through their employer or through a government program (for example, Medicare), are required to have health insurance or pay a fine. The individual mandate's goal was to reduce the adverse selection problem and keep prices down by requiring all consumers—even the healthiest ones—to have health insurance. Without the need to guard against adverse selection (whereby only the riskiest consumers buy insurance) by raising prices, health insurance companies could provide more reasonable plans to their customers.
  • Each state is required to have health insurance exchanges whereby insurance companies compete for business. The goal of the exchanges is to improve competition in the market for health insurance.
  • Employer mandate: All employers with more than 50 employees must offer health insurance to their employees.

Questions & Answers

what is economics
reekado Reply
what is the meaning of term depreciation
Niyogushimwa
I don't know tell me pls
Manuel
decrease in the valaue of currency is called depreciation.
Asit
managing the scarce resources is called economics 😉
Asit
definition of economics according to different scholars
Onesmo Reply
Economics is a science that studies human behavior as a relationship between end and scarce means which have alternative uses:by Davern spot
Dora
am I correct?
Dora
Yeah you tried
Donkiss
reason why we study economics
Moruf Reply
what is economics
Tutu Reply
economics is defined as the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
Semiat
what is a gross domestic product
Amogelang Reply
Explain what is a production possibility curve
Sharon Reply
A curve that indicates the various production possibilities of two commodities when resources are fixed...
Geoffrey
what is market?
Jasmin Reply
ware the Byers and seller's that please is called market
suresh
a place where buyers and sellers meet
Tariro
I don't like this market definition.
Jasmin
market is any arrangement whereby buyers and sellers are brought together for the purpose of transacting business. It could be a geographical location or any other means such as internet, mobile phone etc. as long as buyers and sellers are brought together for the purpose of exchange.
Agusimba
A market is a place where buyers and sellers buy and sell goods through bargaining.
Jasmin
yes ,you are correct Agusimba sir.
Jasmin
exception of the low of demond
Rohit Reply
short run AC curves?
Jasmin Reply
you mean shirt run cost curves?
REBECCA
A short-run cost curve shows the minimum cost impact of output changes for a specific plant size and in a given operating environment. Such curves reflect the optimal or least-cost input combination for producing output under fixed circumstances.
REBECCA
nooo am not from India why!?
Godwin Reply
Godwin which level of education are you please
Millionaires
millionaires am in SHS 2
Godwin
who was the father of economic ?why?
Mahesh Reply
Rationing and hoarding
Semiat Reply
how do the size of a country's population affect labour force
Evans Reply
a mixed economic system
Ngong Reply
What are the types of price elasticity of demand
Juliana Reply
what are massures to promote geographical mobility of labor?
Ngong
Is to make sure that a labourer to know more about his salary to earn before going to the direction
shehu
types of Price elasticity of demand are fairly elastic demand, fairly inelastic demand, unity demand, perfectly elastic demand and perfectly inelastic demand.
Semiat
what is money
Siaw Reply
money is defined as the medium of exchange
jackie

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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