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If You Like Your Health Plan, Can You Keep It? Yes.

Testifying today before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology, Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee Law School, one of the nation’s leading health policy experts, clears up some misconceptions about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — that is, health reform — will do to employer-sponsored health coverage.  The testimony is well worth reading.  Here’s Jost’s conclusion:

The grandfathering provisions of the ACA, and the regulations that implement it, do allow employees, and employers, to keep an insurance plan they like as long as the plan does not change into essentially another plan.  Moreover, there is every reason to believe that the ACA will not dramatically change the scope of employer coverage in the United States...

Jost also explains that a recent report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which purports to show that the ACA will lead large numbers of small businesses to stop offering coverage as their employees increasingly switch from employer plans to the new health insurance exchanges, in fact shows nothing of the kind.

The NFIB study . . . project[s] that 26 percent of small employers are very likely and 31 percent very likely to drop coverage after the ACA is fully implemented.  This projection, however, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the ACA that formed the basis for the questions asked survey participants.  The questions NFIB asked presumed that employees will be able to freely choose between offered employer coverage and receiving premium tax credits in the exchange.  That is simply not what the ACA provides.  Employees who have a coverage offer from their employer are not eligible for premium tax credits unless the coverage offered is seriously deficient.  Since the answers to these questions are based on a false premise, they have no predictive value.