Health insurance reform should increase insurance rolls, keep costs at current levels

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Coverage will improve and prices will stay the same, reports say

Separate reports from the Congressional Budget Office and ratings agency Fitch indicate that the healthcare reform bills proposed by Congress will increase health insurance coverage and keep costs at today's levels.

According to Fitch, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009 passed by the House last month will increase the number of insured Americans by 36 million. The agency cites "individual and employer mandates, coupled with a number of subsidies offered to lower-income individuals and smaller employers" as drivers of the growth in insurance rolls.

And, on Monday, the CBO issued a report that provided good news for Congressional Democrats arguing for healthcare reform. The CBO's study found that prices for small group coverage - companies with 50 or fewer employees - will stay roughly the same. Large group coverage will likely cost the same or get cheaper by up to 3 percent.

For nongroup individual) coverage, premium costs will increase by 10 to 13 percent, but coverage quality will improve. And approximately 57 percent of individuals will receive government subsidies that will reduce their health insurance costs below today's levels.

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Posted: December 2, 2009

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