Consultants at Deloitte expected 9 percent of companies to drop coverage, while Mercer’s estimate was 21 percent. The Congressional Budget Office, which provided the official projection of the law’s cost, was much lower. If there’s an exodus from employer health plans and those workers end up in the Obamacare exchanges, the program’s cost will explode.
But the opposite problem also could be disastrous for the law’s viability. The dumped workers and many of those now without policies may not go to the exchanges at all, opting instead to pay the penalty, which will be much lower than the cost of a health plan.
If the young and healthy stay away, those left in the exchanges will be older and sicker — pushing premiums higher and driving more people out.