December 4, 2014
Report shows more options and savings for consumers who shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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. And with the new window shopping tool at HealthCare.gov, it is easier than ever.
Key findings from today’s report include:
More Choice and Competition:
- 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 for 2015 coverage—up from 30 in 2014, based on data at the county level.
It Pays to Shop: Findings taking into account tax credits
- Across all metal levels, nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) current Marketplace enrollees can get coverage for $100 or less in 2015 after any applicable tax credits.
- 65 percent of current Marketplace enrollees can get coverage for $100 or less for 2015, after tax credits, if they shop for a more affordable plan within their current metal level, compared to 50 percent of current Marketplace enrollees who can get coverage for $100 or less, after tax credits, if they do not change their plan for 2015.
It Pays to Shop: Findings before tax credits
- 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.
Open Enrollment in the Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015. Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options. All consumers shopping for health insurance coverage for 2015—even those who currently have coverage through the Marketplace—should enroll or re-enroll between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 in order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.
Today’s report reflects individual market health plan premium data for 35 states. It does not include Oregon or Nevada, which are using the federal eligibility and enrollment platform this year, and other State-based Marketplaces. Findings are presented at the county level, rather than by rating area, to better reflect plan service areas and the consumer experience.
To preview plans, prices, covered benefits and physician and hospital networks in your area visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/
Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov/. Or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. Translation services are available. The call is free.
To read today’s report on Health Plan Choice, Premiums and Affordability in the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/premiumReport/healthPremium2015.pdf