Consumers buying insurance via the Obamacare exchanges will have more policies to choose from next year, as 25 percent more issuers offer plans.
A report released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services said that 67 total new issuers will offer plans on the federal exchange via Healthcare.gov, throughout the 36 states in which the site operates, and 10 total new issuers will join the various state-based marketplaces.
“When consumers have more choices, we all benefit,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “In terms of affordability, access, and quality, today’s news is very encouraging.”
The report reflects preliminary data from 44 states. Of those states included in the report, California is the only one to see its number of issuers reduced, from 12 to 10. Minnesota, which was not included in the report, announced last week that the PreferredOne, the insurer that signed nearly 60 percent of the user’s on the state’s exchange, would not return in 2015.
Earlier this summer, the HHS found that an increase of one issuer in a region is associated with a 4 percent decline in premiums for a benchmark silver plan, which pay 70 percent of healthcare costs.
The prices consumers pay vary widely by region, due mainly to market size and competition. An analysis earlier this year by Kaiser Health News found that rates for the cheapest silver plan last year ran the gamut from nearly $500 in the Colorado Mountain resort region to about $150 in Minneapolis.
The price of health insurance has become a major worry for Americans. Earlier this month, a Bankrate survey found that six in 10 Americans age 30 to 64 were worried that they wouldn’t have affordable health insurance at some point in their lives.
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