Disputing a health insurance industry study, two nonpartisan groups said last week that the leading Senate health insurance reform plan would have a minimal effect on the cost of individual insurance premiums.
According to the American Academy of Actuaries, the reform plan introduced by Sens. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) would increase the cost of individual policies by 2% to 5% over three years. A separate study by the Congressional Research Service said premiums would increase about 1% in the first year and 3% overall.
The Health Insurance Association of America estimates the bill would increase individual policy costs by 10% to 30%.
The Kassebaum-Kennedy plan would curb the ability of health insurers and employers to deny coverage to employees who change jobs or have pre-existing medical conditions.
Insurance groups oppose provisions that would require insurers to offer coverage to any employer with more than two workers and to guarantee coverage to individuals who lose their employer insurance.
The insurers argue that the people most likely to purchase the individual coverage are sick or have pre-existing conditions, causing an increase in the cost of policies for the entire risk pool.