Employer Health-Care Delay May Goose Exchange Enrollment

Increased use of exchanges could bolster Obama’s health-care overhaul.

Freeing companies from a U.S. government mandate to offer employees health care is setting off a chain of events that may enlarge the pool of uninsured Americans. That may be good for President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul.

The success of the 2010 Affordable Care Act is largely dependent on how many people are willing to buy subsidized health plans through government exchanges. Most of the people affected by Obama’s decision this month to delay the employer mandate to provide health care will now be eligible to use the exchanges when they open Oct. 1.

Young People

Any increase in enrollment, particularly by young people such as restaurant workers, will help the exchanges by making their pool of customers less risky to cover. That could lead to lower premiums starting in 2015, said Jay Angoff, a Mehri & Skalet law partner who had been director of insurance oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Obama.

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