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Lower Premiums for Some With 2020 ACA Health Plans

Affordable Care Act also offering more insurance options to choose from


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Photo Alto/AP

Americans enrolled in the most popular health insurance plan sold through the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) federal marketplace may pay lower premiums in 2020 and can expect more insurance plans to choose from.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a 4 percent price drop in Healthcare.gov's benchmark silver plan for 2020 — a figure calculated for both a 27-year-old enrollee and a family of four.

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The agency also announced that 20 additional insurers will participate in the ACA exchange for 2020, bringing the total to 175 in the 38 states that use HealthCare.gov for enrollment. The average enrollee will have between three and four health plans to choose from in 2020, CMS reports. Twelve percent of enrollees will still be limited to one option next year, compared with 20 percent in 2019.

While the average premiums dropped in both 2019 and 2020, they are up, overall, since 2016. The average monthly premium for a benchmark plan (the second-lowest-cost silver plan) in 2020 is $388 for a 27-year-old enrollee and $1,520 for a family of four.

Older adults often pay higher premiums and a higher percentage of their income for ACA health plans, compared with younger adults. A 2019 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a 60-year-old not eligible for subsidies paid $708 a month for the lowest-cost bronze plan and $943 a month for the lowest-cost silver plan.

Six states (Delaware, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah) will see average premiums for benchmark plans decrease by 10 percent or more in 2020, while three states (Indiana, Louisiana and New Jersey) will see these premiums increase by 10 percent or more.

The news of lower average premiums and increased insurer participation comes ahead of the health insurance exchange's 2020 open enrollment period, which runs Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1. More information is on HealthCare.gov.

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