New choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace are giving consumers affordable options during Open Enrollment this year, and the majority of returning consumers who shop can save money on premiums, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly 8 in 10 current Marketplace consumers can find coverage in the 2015 Marketplace for $100 or less, taking into account any applicable tax credits. In 2014, 85 percent of consumers who selected a Marketplace plan received financial assistance. For returning customers, it pays to shop. More than 7 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level—before tax credits—by returning to shop. If all returning consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest-cost premium plan in the same metal level, the total savings in premiums would be over $2 billion.
Today’s report shows that premiums for the second-lowest cost, or “benchmark,” silver plan held stable for 2015 coverage, with only a modest 2 percent increase on average before tax credits in 35 states. Many consumers will be eligible for tax credits to help with the cost of monthly premiums. Open Enrollment in the Marketplace runs through Feb. 15, 2015.
IDAHO & WASHINGTON HEALTH EXCHANGES: “The state health exchanges in Idaho and Washington have new plan offerings from Regence, Blue Cross of Idaho and Premera Blue Cross”, said Tim Gleason from AMERICAN INSURANCE, a certified marketplace health agent for Your Health Idaho and WA HealthPlanFinder. “We are helping new clients and our renewing clients check out their health plan options, determine their premium tax credits and cost sharing, and explaining the coverage details of plans that best meet their needs and budget.”
“The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business, and consumers have affordable choices for renewing their coverage and signing up for the first time,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “In today’s Marketplace, issuers are competing for business. With additional quality, affordable plans available, returning customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save.”
With 25 percent more issuers participating in the Marketplace in 2015, based on analysis of 35 states, more than 90 percent of consumers will be able to choose from three or more issuers—up from 74 percent in 2014. Consumers can choose from an average of 40 health plans in their county for 2015 coverage—up from 30 in 2014.
Before the Affordable Care Act, people who purchased health insurance plans in the individual market often saw double-digit rate increases on average, with very limited options for shopping around because plans could deny them coverage, or charge them higher rates based on pre-existing conditions or their gender. This year, consumers have the option to renew their current plan or shop around to select the plan that best meets their needs and their budget.
For other key findings from the HHS report visit: HHS Report
Source: US Health & Human Services, News Release – December 4, 2012