(Bloomberg) — Premiums for health plans to be sold to the uninsured next year will be less costly than government analysts expected under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, his administration will report today.

Monthly rates for silver plans, the second-least generous available next year, will be about 18% less than the Congressional Budget Office estimated last year when it calculated the cost of the Affordable Care Act, according to a report by the Health and Human Services Department scheduled to be released today and previewed by administration officials.

Premiums for the plan average $321 in 11 states examined in the report, while CBO assumed the rates would be about $392, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified talking about the report before it was made public.

Obama will discuss the findings at the White House today, at an event designed to promote the benefits the ACA, which remains under attack by Republicans. His remarks, which will also highlight $500 million in excess premium payments rebated to 8.5 million Americans this year, are part of an administration effort to encourage uninsured Americans to sign up for policies under the law and generate greater public support.

Earlier this month, the administration decided to delay a requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide workers with insurance, a linchpin of the law.


Republican-controlled legislatures and governors in several states have refused funding to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor and declined to set up exchanges where individuals can buy insurance, leaving the job to the federal government.

White House press secretary Jay Carney cited a report from New York yesterday that forecast health insurance premiums will drop by about 50% on average for consumers who buy new plans through a state-run marketplace created under the ACA.

“This is in line with what we’ve seen in other states, like California and Oregon,” Carney said. “Competition and transparency in the marketplaces, plus the hard effort by those committed to making the law work, are leading to affordable, new, and better choices for families.”

Building enrollment

For the president’s plan to succeed, Democrats must enroll 7 million people next year in private plans offered through state exchanges, according to the administration. Almost 40% of those people need to be young, healthy adults to balance the cost of insuring older people at higher risk of illness.

Promoting the cost-savings and other benefits of the law for uninsured Americans is a key part of that effort, the administration officials said.

The HHS report examines the price of silver plans because they determine the amount of subsidies people will receive when they shop in the exchanges.

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