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Actuaries Warn Congress About Dangers of Repealing the Obamacare Mandate

Yuval Rosenberg
Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet on Obamacare at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, California, U.S. March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

The American Academy of Actuaries — a group representing the people who actually set insurance prices — warned Tuesday that repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate would lead to higher health care premiums and could drive insurers from the market.

“Eliminating the mandate would likely have significant implications for health insurance coverage,” the group wrote in a letter to Senate leaders, adding that, “Insurers would likely reconsider their future participation in the market. This could lead to severe market disruption and loss of coverage among individual market enrollees.”

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the mandate would lead to about 13 million fewer Americans having insurance by 2027, and about $338 billion in federal savings over 10 years as the government spends less on Obamacare subsidies. Other analysts have said that the coverage losses — and the cost savings — would be smaller.

An analysis published Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund found that Obamacare enrollees who don’t qualify for subsidies would see average premium hikes along these lines:

  • 27-year-olds would see an increase of $492 in 2019, rising to $726 by 2027;
  • 40-year-olds would see an increase of $598 in 2019, rising to $883 in 2027;
  • 60-year-olds would see an increase of $1,269 in 2019, rising to $1,875 in 2027.

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