The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had an easier time attracting insurers to the public exchanges in the South this year than to the exchanges in the middle of the country.

Analysts at the HHS have published data on county-by-county trends in exchange plan issuer competition in a discussion of the level of competition in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange system.

The dark blue counties gained at least two more exchange plan issuers this year. (HHS Map)Steven Sheingold and other officials in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) contend that, in the 35 states in which HHS ran exchange enrollment through in both 2014 and 2015, competition increased in most areas.

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