A new federal rule that requires insurers to offer the same insurance plans to everyone in a state could make it harder for low-income Americans to access coverage.
The Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits Act is set to be finalized on Tuesday, and it’s expected to make changes to how insurance companies and individuals sell their plans, including an expanded requirement that insurers offer a broad range of plans.
Insurers, meanwhile, will have to provide coverage for as many as 200 million Americans, and the law requires insurers offering plans to the public to cover the full range of essential health benefits.
But it’s the mandate that insurers must offer that’s drawing most of the ire, as insurers argue that they don’t want to impose on consumers the costs of coverage that they have already paid for.
In a report released Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the ACA’s new mandate will result in $6.6 trillion in additional annual cost increases over the next decade.
And the CBO estimates that many of the cost increases could be avoided if the mandate is extended.
The CBO analysis comes as the administration faces growing pressure from Republicans to extend the mandate, which would require insurers to cover people at least to 60 years old, and also extend the current mandate.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for extending the mandate to include people under age 65, and has threatened to pull out of the ACA if the law is not extended.
The Trump administration has said that it is committed to working with Congress to pass an extension of the mandate.
In response to the report, House Republicans are urging the administration to reconsider its position.
The Congressional Budget office estimates that the mandate will lead to an additional $1.2 trillion in annual cost overruns and $1 trillion in extra medical expenses for consumers.
The mandate would also lead to a 13% increase in the cost of health insurance premiums over the coming decade, the CBO report found.