The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will factor new consumer and employer preferences in its estimate of how proposed legislation will impact insurance coverage and premiums.
The agency's new insurance model aims to address longstanding complaints from Republicans on how the CBO makes pivotal estimates on the impact of new legislation, especially surrounding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
"The new model better captures underlying relationships among individuals, families, employment, income and insurance coverage because it incorporates new data and includes refinements in modeling insurance choices," CBO Director Keith Hall said in a blog post on Thursday.
The CBO will use the new baseline for its budget projections to be released later this spring.
The agency updates the insurance model at least once a year to incorporate new information such as survey data, changes in regulations or judicial decisions. The data that the CBO uses included the current population survey, which is a survey of about 95,000 households.
The updated insurance model changes how individuals and families are projected to choose among coverage options and how an employer is projected to take a worker's preference into account when deciding whether to offer employment-based coverage.
Republicans have long said that the CBO's estimates don't take into account consumer preferences.
The CBO projected that the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate would cause 13 million people to go without insurance coverage over the next decade.
But Republicans charged that the mandate had not been a big enough driver for people to get coverage on the ACA's exchanges, and thus was overestimating its impact.
The GOP included a repeal of the individual mandate in its 2017 tax reform package.
Initial estimates of the American Health Care Act, the House's 2017 repeal bill, found 22 million people would lose coverage over a decade, a figure that Republican lawmakers alleged was inaccurate.
White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, during his tenure at the Office of Management and Budget in 2017, also accused the CBO of being biased because it had employed a former Obama administration official.