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California Marketplace Customers Avoid Higher Premium Increases by Buying Lower-Price Plans

doctor patient health insurance

During the 2016 presidential campaign, premium increases of 22 percent or more were commonly cited as illustration of the ACA’s failure. This figure and similar estimates, however, shared a common flaw: they were based on health plans offered, but not necessarily sold, by insurers. In looking at the plans that consumers actually purchased, a Commonwealth Fund–supported research team led by Jon Gabel of NORC at the University of Chicago (Health Affairs, Jan. 2017) found that the average price paid for plans selected in 2014 was 11.6 percent less than the average price of all plans offered by insurers. Similar differences were observed in 2015 and 2016, suggesting that consumers are opting for lower-cost plans.

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