A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has reviewed several studies predicting modest changes in the number of individuals who will continue to receive employer-based health insurance as coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect. GAO reviewed five separate studies whose estimates ranged from an increase of 2.7 percent to a decrease of 2.5 percent of individuals receiving employer-based coverage. These studies—carried out by CMS, the RAND Corporation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Lewin Group—used statistical modeling to predict the near-term effects of the Affordable Care Act, and generally refrained from predicting coverage levels beyond two years.

By contrast, 16 of 19 employer surveys, including surveys by PricewaterhouseCoopers and McKinsey & Co., found that employers estimate dropping coverage for some employees in the near term. The employer surveys varied, however, in estimates of how many employers would drop coverage—the studies found that the changes ranged from as little as two percent to as many as 20 percent of employers. Several of these surveys found that smaller employers were more likely than larger employers to drop coverage; while other surveys found that employers of all sizes that planned to keep coverage were nonetheless considering changes to employee benefit plans that would shift a larger share of plan costs to employees.

The GAO report is available here.