Analysts at the Congressional Budget Officer say they believe subsidizing uninsured individuals would be much more efficient at expanding access to coverage than two other proposed strategies.

The CBO analysts come to that conclusion in a discussion of a new model they have developed to analyze the possible effects of health finance proposals.

Helping uninsured people buy individual or family coverage would reduce the number of uninsured U.S. residents by about 2 million, at a cost of about $1,050 per newly insured individual.

Providing an employer health coverage subsidy also would reduce the number of uninsured residents, but at a cost of about $8,900 per newly insured individual, because most of the money would end up subsidizing coverage for people who already have coverage, the CBO analysts predict.

Implementing a proposal by President Bush to replace the current group health deduction system with a $7,500 deduction for individual coverage and a $15,000 deduction for family coverage would reduce the number of uninsured residents by 6.7 million at a cost of about $2,500 per newly insured individual, the analysts estimate.

A copy of the CBO analysis is on the Web