Health

S&P: 10 Million May Lose Coverage Under GOP Health Plan

| by Oren Peleg

As bipartisan criticism of the Republicans' proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act continues, a new report by S&P Global notes that 10 million people could lose their health insurance under the new plan. Critics suggest that up to 20 million people may lose their coverage under the American Health Care Act.

"Among the provisions that would have the biggest impact on coverage is the premium hike for those in their 50s and 60s," notes CNN Money. "Under the ACA, insurers could charge a 64-year-old no more than three times that of a 21-year-old. The GOP would widen that band to five-to-one."

“We expect a decline in enrollment in the individual (2 million-4 million) and Medicaid (4 million-6 million) segments,” the report continues, adds The Hill.

If the S&P report for citizens is dire, its forecast for insurance companies is more uplifting. The report predicts that insurers will have their “profitability ... likely improve." The report continues that the risk pool will improve with more young enrollees, but older enrollees -- those in their 50s and older -- will see higher costs.

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S&P estimates those in their 60s could see health insurance premiums rise by 30 percent, putting premium costs at $13,125 a year. That does not include standard out-of-pocket expenses, like copays.

Those in their 20s could see lower premium costs, with a tax credit that pays up to 70 percent of the annual cost of premiums of $2,625, according to S&P.

“The reason the number is 4 million to 6 million and not higher is that we assume the bigger states like New York and California cover from their own pockets in the future,” Deep Banerjee, who authored the report for S&P, told Vox. “In the longer term, states will have to either lower eligibility, which is hard if you’re already only insuring people making less than the poverty line, or reduce the benefit design. They can still cover close to the number of people they’re covering now, but the kind of benefits they get may be lower, because the burden of covering them goes up for the states.”

“This bill is going to cost more than they expect and not cover as many people as they think,” Bob Kocher, a venture capitalist at Venrock who helped the Obama administration write the ACA, said, notes Forbes. “I think this could collapse under its own weight.”

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According to a report by the Brookings Institution, around 15 million people are estimated to lose their insurance, and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation puts the number closer to 24 million.

Banerjee concluded, “We wouldn’t expect much movement from employer plans to the individual market.”

Sources: CNN Money, The Hill, Vox, Forbes / Photo credit: Official Navy Page/Wikimedia Commons

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