Cost decreases for older people under reform?

Money Magazine has a new article out on the effects of reform. Here is an excerpt:

Once the law phases in, in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to turn anyone down because of a pre-existing condition; from pregnancy to heart disease, they’ll all be covered. That’s on top of earlier changes that will restrict or block annual and lifetime limits on what insurers, including in employer plans, will pay. The law also restricts the practice of “rescission”—finding a reason to revoke coverage after someone gets sick. Rates won’t be tied to your health, although smokers may have to pay up to 50% more. The oldest people in a plan will pay no more than three times the rate paid by the youngest. In short, policies you buy yourself will be a lot more like the group plans you get at work. “For people ages 50 to 64, rates will come down a bit,” says James O’Connor, a consulting actuary with Milliman.

To put this in context, consider the cost decrease for older people alongside the potential for cost increases among younger people. O’Connor weighed in on this in a recent AP article:

“Young males will be hit the hardest,” O’Connor says, because they have lower health care costs than young females and older people who go to doctors more often and use more medical services.

Predicting exactly how much any individual’s insurance premium would rise or fall is impossible, experts say, because so much is changing at once. But it is possible to isolate the effect of the law’s limits on age-based pricing.