NU Online News Service, Feb. 5, 10:18 a.m. – The Health Insurance Association of America, Washington, predicts prompt payment of claims and mandates for coverage of specific services will be the most common health insurance issues on state legislative agendas this year.

Prescription drug coverage, long-term care insurance, and a re-examination of previous market “reforms” will also be hot topics, the HIAA predicts in its new legislative forecast.

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia will convene for regular sessions this year. HIAA predicts that all will consider proposals to require health insurers and health plans to pay for specific services.

HIAA argues that the costs associated with mandates force many Americans to go without health coverage.

The HIAA forecast also includes a review of state legislative action in 2001, when all 50 states and the District of Columbia convened regular legislative sessions. In 2001, every legislature introduced bills mandating new benefits. Only 65 of the mandates introduced actually became law, HIAA reports.