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The number of individuals with employment-based health insurance coverage will remain steady this year and next, then slide in 2018 and remain near constant after that, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
In both 2016 and 2017, 155 million employees and dependents will have employment-based coverage. Then in 2018, employment-based coverage will drop to 153 million, slip to 152 million in 2019 and remain at that level through 2026, said the report, which was released Thursday.
CBO noted that in its earlier reports, it projected that employee enrollment in employer plans was lower than what it now predicts over the next few years.
While some employers will be dropping coverage, “Those changes will, for the most part, occur a few years later and to a lesser extent than previously anticipated because there is little evidence that a substantial number of employers have changed their decision to offer health insurance coverage,” the CBO said.
Still, down the road, employment-based coverage will slide, the CBO reported. The reasons for that decrease include more lower-paid employees shifting from employer plans to Medicaid and last year's repeal of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision — never implemented — in which employers with at least 200 employees would have been required to automatically enroll employees who didn't sign up for a health care plan.