Competition counts in Virginia’s health insurance marketplace.
The availability of insurance options will remain relatively robust and increases in premiums relatively low in the Richmond region when enrollment begins Tuesday in the federally operated marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis by The Associated Press called “Dwindling Choices, Higher Costs.”
In comparison, five states will have only one insurer in their marketplaces. Eight states, including North Carolina and Tennessee, will have just one for a majority of their local jurisdictions, according to the national AP analysis, which found that about one-third of all U.S. counties will have just one insurer.
“When you look nationally, we’re in a much better position,” said Jill A. Hanken, senior attorney at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, which operates the Enroll Virginia navigator site to help people shop on the federal exchange. “Virginians are seeing lower costs and more choice than many other states.”
The analysis also reinforced federal data released early this week that showed an average increase of 22 percent nationally in premiums for a “silver” benchmark plan bought by a 27-year-old, but an increase of 10 percent in Virginia. The AP analysis, using the second-lowest silver plan for a 50-year-old participant, showed an average increase of 9.7 percent in Virginia.
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