NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 25, 2010

The new health care reform legislation expands coverage to the uninsured, of course, but other consumer groups will also be affected, including young adults and people with employer-sponsored health insurance, according to BusinessWeek.

People with employer-sponsored insurance:

  • Throughout his campaign for health reform, Obama insisted that if you like your health plan, you can keep it; this still holds mostly true, so long as you get your insurance through a large employer.
  • For people who do not work for a large employer, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 8 million to 9 million individuals (mostly lower-wage workers and people who work for smaller employers) could lose their employer-sponsored coverage as a result of the legislation.
  • The reason: "There will be real economic incentives to move average- and lower-income employees" into newly created health insurance "'exchanges,'" said John Goodman, president, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

In addition, lawmakers included a provision that allows young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance plans up to age 26, starting this year.

People with preexisting conditions will also be affected by the legislation, says BusinessWeek:

  • Beginning this year, individuals who have been denied coverage due to a preexisting condition and have been uninsured for at least six months will be eligible for subsidized coverage through a national high risk pool program.
  • And by 2014 insurance companies may no longer charge individuals and small businesses higher premiums or deny coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions.

Because preexisting conditions will not affect premium prices in the future, Goodman says problems could arise for insurers if people decide to stay out of the market (and instead pay fines for not having insurance), waiting until they are sick to buy insurance.  "The fine is quite low compared to the cost of insurance," he explained.

Source: Karen Pallarito, "Health Care Reform:  How You Will Fare," BusinessWeek, March 23, 2010.


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