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More insurers join the ACA federal exchange

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HHS announced 77 new insurers have joined the Marketplace before the second open enrollment begins.

Consumers shopping the federal healthcare marketplace will have more choices when the second open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a 25% increase in the number of insurers offering plans on the marketplace since the first open enrollment period.

The HHS report includes data from 44 states, showing that 77 insurers will offer Qualified Health Plans through the exchanges for the first time in 2015. Of those 44 states, 36 have a Federally-run marketplace through Healthcare.gov, while the other eight states operate their own exchanges.

“When consumers have more choices, we all benefit,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in a written statement. “In terms of affordability, access, and quality, today’s news is very encouraging.  It’s a real sign that the Affordable Care Act is working.”

HHS is touting the increased competition as a way to lower costs for consumers. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the cost of premiums for the silver tier plans will fall by an average of 0.8% in 2015. Silver tier plans, which were the most popular choice among consumers during the first open enrollment, are used as the benchmark to set the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credit subsidies.

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