"As noted above, individual coverage prices are extreme. The same is true for small companies. Coverage for an individual through my company plan was $760/month and coverage for a family was $2100. The same plan through a larger company group was $420 for an individual and $800 for a family. A health exchange as proposed would allow smaller companies and individuals to purchase at prices similar to large companies. However, this savings only happens when accompanied by a requirement ensuring virtually universal coverage. Currently, insurance companies assume that individual who are paying for their own insurance only purchase it if they anticipate becoming ill. The people who anticipate being healthy choose to forgo insurance rather than pay the full cost. If everyone buys insurance, the price to everyone with coverage will go down and insurance companies will better be able to predict cost. As a result, they will not need to charge as must of a risk premium."
Actually small group coverage contains state mandates & with 30 employees would provide guaranteed issue and coverage of pre-x, for most states. That would equate to around a 30% surcharge. A qucik online search for a quote for an individual/family plan vs you state risk pool should provide an accurate comparison. In TX for my age group this difference between the state risk pool, run by BSBS like medicare here, is 33% higher than a similar policy through bcbs. From an insurance companies viewpoint a known risk is the underwritten, full disclosed applicant and not in a group of 30 "strangers".