Consumers using the government's health insurance marketplace this fall will have much more choice than they did last year, according to a new study from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Consumers using the government’s health insurance marketplace this fall will have much more choice than they did last year, according to a new study from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The department says 77 new insurers will join the marketplace in 2015, resulting in a net 25% increase in the number of issuers offering coverage on the exchange.
“When consumers have more choices, we all benefit,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, in a press release. “In terms of affordability, access, and quality, today’s news is very encouraging.”
Last year, 191 issuers participated in the marketplace. This year, that number is expected to rise to at least 248. That figure includes 14 insurers who are offered plans in 2014 but have decided not to participate in 2015.
The report is based on data from 44 states. The amount of new options varies significantly from state to state, HHS said. For instance, 8 of the 44 states won’t have any new insurers in 2015.
However, 4 states (Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia) will have double the number of issuers they had in 2014. Those states are all members of the federal exchange.
The 36 federal marketplace states in the study will have a total of 57 new issuers next year, a 30% increase. The 8 state-based marketplaces included in the study will have 6 more issuers.
This ought to translate into good news for consumers, according to the report.
“Previous research has found that the number of issuers in a rating area is associated with more affordable premiums for benchmark plans… for individuals and reduced costs for the federal government,” the report states.
A greater number of issuers should also lead to more choice among plan types, the study said.
The study authors say the increased choice could lead to increased participation in the marketplace by members of the public. If that happens, the increased participation could also result in reductions in premium costs.