The Corner

Obamacare Exchange Costs Up 29 Percent Before Program Even Starts

Starting in 2014, the health-care reform law will create exchanges where people who don’t get or can’t afford health insurance through their job can buy subsidized insurance plans. But as Reason’s Nick Gillespie notes, the CBO report that came out yesterday sheds some light on one aspect of the exchange that taxpayers should start worrying about today: The projected cost of the subsidies for the exchanges has increased by about 29 percent between the 2010 assessment and this week’s, from an average of $3,970 per enrollee to $5,510. This means the “10-year cost of Obamacare’s insurance subsidies offered via the health law’s exchanges [has increased] by $233 billion,” says John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily. Check out this chart:

Gillespie quotes Merline further:

The CBO’s new baseline estimate shows that ObamaCare subsidies offered through the insurance exchanges — which are supposed to be up and running by next January — will total more than $1 trillion through 2022, up from $814 billion over those same years in its budget forecast made a year ago.

That’s an increase of nearly 29%…

Last year, the CBO said the average exchange subsidy for those getting federal help when ObamaCare goes into effect next year would be $4,780. Its latest estimate raised that to $5,510 — a 15% increase. All these numbers are up even more from the CBO’s original forecast made in 2010, which had the first-year subsidy average at $3,970.

The CBO also expects 7 million workers will lose their employer coverage due to ObamaCare, almost twice as many as it had previously said would be dumped. It expects tax penalties on individuals and companies who don’t buy insurance to be $36 billion higher from 2014 to 2019 than it originally forecast

The whole thing is here. Merline’s piece is here. Last month, I also wrote about who will pay more under the health-care law.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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