The healthcare reform legislation in the Senate would have a relatively small effect on premiums for employer-based healthcare insurance, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO compared premiums that employers would pay under current law in the year 2016 and those they would pay in 2016 if the healthcare reform legislation in the Senate becomes law.
For employers with 50 or fewer employees (small group market), the CBO projected that if the legislation becomes law, the average premium could be as much as 1 percent higher to as much as 2 percent lower per person in 2016 (relative to current law). For employers with more than 50 employees (large group market), the CBO projected that that if the legislation becomes law, premiums could be as much as 3 percent lower in 2016 (relative to current law).
“Those overall effects reflect the net impact of many relatively small changes, some of which would tend to increase premiums and some of which would tend to reduce them,” the CBO wrote.
Much of the healthcare legislation addresses the health plans purchased through the individual market (nongroup market). The changes in premiums for these plans would be more significant because the plans would be required to be more robust. The CBO estimates that premiums in the nongroup market would be about 10 to 13 percent higher in 2016 as a result of the legislation.
Nongroup health plans are much less common than group health plans. The large group market (70 percent) and small group market (13 percent) make up 83 percent of the total insurance market.