Insurers will cover 2M fewer consumers thanks to reform

Insurers will be competing for fewer consumers when the health insurance exchanges and other provisions of the reform law are implemented, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Up to 1 million fewer people will obtain a health plan under the reform law's individual mandate, the CBO said in a new estimate released Tuesday. And another 1 million fewer consumers will seek coverage under the health insurance exchanges than the organization previously predicted.

The change is due to new rules that let some uninsured people avoid paying the penalty for not obtaining health insurance. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of Treasury released proposed rules allowing up to 1 million people to dodge the mandate penalties.

The CBO now believes roughly 25 million new consumers--of the nearly 49 million total uninsured people--will be seeking insurance because of the reform law, down from its 27 million estimate in February.

And it's a far cry from the CBO's 2011 prediction that 34 million people would gain coverage, mostly because of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that states can opt out of the reform law's Medicaid expansion, Bloomberg reported.

However, the CBO did say Medicaid likely will cover about 1 million more people than it previously projected.

To learn more:
- here's the CBO estimate
- read the Bloomberg article