We may have to wait until 2017 to truly determine whether the Affordable Care Act helps lower premiums and decrease the uninsured population, according to a new analysis from the Medical Industry Leadership Institute, which bucks previous predictions in finding that individual enrollment will decline over the next decade.
In the analysis, health economist Stephen Parente from the University of Minnesota used final reports for 2014 enrollment in health insurance exchanges along with his own microsimulation model to project what exchange plans would cost and what enrollment trends would emerge over the next 10 years.
He found that although individual enrollment will rise through 2016, it will decrease sharply in 2017 and then slowly drop even further by 2024, The Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, employer-based coverage will fall at a rate faster than the growth in Medicaid enrollment, which will mean a larger uninsured population in the next decade.
The analysis says the large drop in coverage in 2017 will occur primarily because the ACA's reinsurance and risk corridor programs are scheduled to end in 2016. Since they help temper major rate hikes, insurers could likely increase premium costs.
Parente added that new plan requirements will be effective by 2017, so up to 6 million people will lose their existing individual plans when either the policies lose grandfathered status or the White House's extension of noncompliant plans expires in 2016.