Health insurance that is sold only through one of the exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may be more expensive than other types of coverage. But because of the substantial subsidies that many exchange purchasers receive, that fact may be of little significance to the purchasers.
This is the conclusion drawn by HealthPocket, which offers a website that offers health insurance plan comparisons. HealthPocket analyzed government data on similar plans — some offered only via an exchange, others offered both on an exchange and in the private marketplace.
The largest “mark-up” identified was for the exchange-only bronze plan, where premiums were 15 percent higher for exchange plans than for bronze plans available on and off an exchange.
Silver plans were 7 percent higher, and gold plans were 5 percent more expensive, based on a comparison of premiums only. HealthPocket said data for the most expensive plans, platinum, weren’t available.
“The higher average premiums we observed for health plans sold exclusively on-exchange may be the result of multiple factors,” said Kev Coleman, head of research & data at HealthPocket. “Among these factors is the fact that health plans sold on-exchange are not paid for at list price by most enrollees but, instead, often have sizable premium subsidies applied. Off-exchange consumers are more likely unsubsidized and may be more price sensitive than on-exchange consumers who enjoy premium subsidization.”