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Government report says health reform will lower premiums; health insurers disagree Posted: February 7th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

The latest volley in the debate over the cost of health reform came from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On Jan. 28, the department issued a report finding that families and small businesses can expect significant savings on health insurance costs.

Four key savings outlined in the HHS report:

  1. Middle-class families could save as much as $2,300 per year in health insurance premiums by purchasing through Health Insurance Exchanges.
  2. In 2014, small businesses could save up to $350 per family policy and qualify for tax credits of up to 50 percent of group insurance premiums.
  3. By 2019, all businesses could see health insurance premiums drop by $2,000 per family.
  4. When both reduced cost sharing and premium tax credits are considered, a family of four earning $33,525 could see annual savings of $14,900 in 2014.

However, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry group, argues that the government focuses too heavily on tax credits.

"The document released today overstates cost savings associated with certain provisions of the new law and ignores major provisions that will raise premiums," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni in a statement. According to the AHIP, these provisions include a premium tax, age-rating restrictions and benefit mandates.

Ignagni continued, "while tax credits are important to help people pay for coverage, tax credits do not bring down the growth of medical costs or reduce health insurance premiums."