Insurers warn of sticker shock due to health care law's taxes, requirements as it expands

The health care overhaul starts expanding coverage to nearly 30 million uninsured people next year. The law also begins tacking on some expenses and coverage requirements to insurance policies.

Insurers say that will lead to higher premiums — or coverage costs — for a portion of the insured population. This includes some of the roughly 14 million people who buy their own coverage on the individual market rather than those who are covered under employer-sponsored plans.

Some of the law’s changes that insurers say could contribute to cost hikes, depending on a person’s current coverage:

— A requirement that insurers narrow the difference they charge in premiums based on age

— The elimination of premium differences based on gender

— A new premium tax

— Requirements that insurers provide certain benefits deemed essential, like pregnancy coverage

Some factors that overhaul proponents say could lessen the impact of price hikes or lower costs:

— Income-based tax credits

— Lower administrative costs and more competition thanks to new online exchanges or marketplaces where people can find coverage

— A requirement that insurers cover everyone who applies, which ensures coverage for people with poor health