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Nongroup health plans expected to increase under the ACA

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 15, 2013

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Consumers in state-run health insurance exchanges will have more nongroup plans to choose from under the Affordable Care Act starting in October, according to a report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Analyzing data from nine states and the District of Columbia, the foundation said the number of insurance carriers providing nongroup coverage will increase from 52 to 70 plans. Although four states expect no changes, six of the 10 states will see increases compared with what’s currently offered. In Massachusetts, for example, the number of nongroup carriers is expected to rise from two issuers before the ACA to nine issuers after the reforms take effect.

The analysis focused on nongroup coverage because it currently offers few options and has little influence over consumer choice, making it a ripe market for change under the ACA. “More carriers competing in a state means more choice for consumers,” said Andy Hyman, who leads health coverage programs at the foundation. “That increases pressure on insurers to reduce price and improve service,” he said.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington were the nine states analyzed for the report.

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