Insurers contest HHS estimate of reform's impact on premiums

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 7, 2011

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Regulations and subsidies in the national health system reform law will restrain the growth of health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars for businesses, individuals and families, according to a Dept. of Health and Human Services report released Jan. 28.

For example, middle-class families who seek coverage in health insurance exchanges in 2014 will save as much as $2,300 per year on premiums. "For too long, skyrocketing health care costs have made it hard for businesses to provide coverage for employees and have made it difficult for families to afford coverage," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

But America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni said the report ignores provisions in the law that will increase premiums, such as the statute's benefit mandates. "The new law will expand coverage to millions of Americans but fails to address the health care cost crisis."

Republicans are using House committees to continue their campaign against the health reform law. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R, Wis.), for example, called a hearing on Jan. 26 to focus on the law's costs. One witness, Richard Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said reform will not fulfill President Obama's promises of both restraining health spending and allowing all Americans to keep their health plans if they like them.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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