November 30, 2009

Insurance Premiums Under Reform Steady or Lower

The CBO analysis of the change in health insurance premiums under reform (2016), compared to what premiums would have been without reform, shows what common sense would indicate -- most premiums would be about where they would have been without reform, some would be lower, some would be higher due to the insurance itself covering more and thus lowering out-of-pocket costs.

For the group that sees higher premiums under reform, out of pocket costs will be much lower due to reform. The only group that would see these higher premiums are those in the individual market that don't qualify for subsidies and would be required to purchase better insurance than they currently have.

Not only will this group have better coverage -- they will get a lower overall average cost! While they will pay more in premiums and get more insurance, they will save money under reform on the administrative costs of that insurance and in out-of-pocket expenses. The net result will be less total spending on health care even for this group.

Since the effects of reform analyzed by the CBO are so much better than the rhetorical claims of reform opponents, it is worth reporting:

The Senate Democrats' health care overhaul bill would substantially reduce premium costs for 57 percent of people who buy subsidized coverage through new exchanges, while rates would hold steady or decline slightly for large and small employers, a long awaited analysis from the Congressional Budget Office showed Monday.

People who buy their own coverage but don’t qualify for government subsidies, however, could see increases of 10 percent to 13 percent, mainly because the coverage offered in the exchanges would cover more benefits compared with what is currently purchased, and thus would be more expensive. The analysis compares rates with what they would be under current laws, and focuses on 2016 as the time when the provisions of the new legislation would be fully implemented.

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