Consumers in 39 states can use HealthCare.gov to shop for health insurance, also known as the federally-facilitated marketplace; individuals in the remaining 11 states and the District of Columbia can use their state-based marketplaces. Health insurance options change every year as issuers decide to enter or leave the marketplaces, change the number and types of health plans they offer, or change the monthly premiums they charge.
Consumers who use HealthCare.gov have the opportunity to choose among the available plans during an annual open enrollment period. Consumers who are already enrolled may renew their coverage in their current plan (if still available for the following year) by letting it automatically renew, or they can enroll in a different plan. Because the number of plans and the cost of the plans change every year, consumers are encouraged to shop and compare plans available in their marketplace.
This edition of the ACA Spotlight provides and compares data on the number of issuers, number of plans, and the average premium costs of plans offered through HealthCare.gov in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. See the background section for details about health plan options and the methodology section for information on the data used.
|State||Marketplace Type*||Enrollment Website**|
|Arkansas||State-based marketplace-federal reform||healthcare.gov|
|District of Columbia||State-based marketplace||dchealthlink.com|
|Kentucky||State-based marketplace-federal reform||healthcare.gov|
|Nevada||State-based marketplace-federal reform||healthcare.gov|
|New Hampshire||State-partnership marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|New Jersey||Federally-facilitated marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|New Mexico||State-based marketplace-federal reform||healthcare.gov|
|New York||State-based marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|North Carolina||Federally-facilitated marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|North Dakota||Federally-facilitated marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|Oregon||State-based marketplace-federal reform||healthcare.gov|
|Rhode Island||State-based marketplace||healthsourceri.com|
|South Carolina||Federally-facilitated marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|South Dakota||Federally-facilitated marketplace||healthcare.gov|
|West Virginia||State-partnership marketplace||healthcare.gov|
The ACA established health insurance marketplaces, either through state-based marketplaces or the federally-facilitated marketplace at HealthCare.gov, for uninsured consumers to purchase and enroll in qualified health plans (QHPs). As of December 2017, 39 states use HealthCare.gov for their residents to purchase and enroll in plans.
Consumers can shop and compare plans during the annual open enrollment period. Plan choices and their premium and out-of-pocket costs vary by county and year to year. New issuers and plans may become available, providing new plan choices for consumers. Conversely, existing issuers and plans may not be available in the next coverage year, requiring current enrollees of those plans to choose a new plan or have a new plan chosen for them automatically. As the number of issuers increase or decrease in a county, the corresponding increase or decrease in issuer competition can affect how much issuers charge for their plans.
Changes in plan options year to year can also result in changes to which available plan is the second-lowest cost silver plan (referred to here as “benchmark silver plan”). This is notable because the second-lowest cost silver plan in a given area is used as the benchmark for determining the formulas for the federal subsidies available to qualified enrollees, thus impacting the affordability of a plan.
The infographics in this ACA Spotlight compare by county the number of issuers, the number of plans offered, and the average monthly premium costs of plans offered in HealthCare.gov for the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
ACA Spotlight can select to see single year data (2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018) or see changes from year to year (2015-2016, 2016-2017, or 2017-2018).
Users that select to see single year data then select from these options:
- Number of plans and issuers. Users can see for each county the total number of issuers, the total number of plans, and the number of plans in each plan category.
- Cost of plans. Users can see for each county the average cost of a plan for each category, as well as the cost of the benchmark (second-lowest cost) silver plan (for an individual adult aged 30).
Users that select to see changes from year to year then select from these options:
- Change in number of plans and issuers. Users can see for each county the change in the total number of issuers, the change in the total number of plans, the change in the number of plans in each plan category, and whether or not the benchmark (second lowest cost) silver plan changed.
- Change in cost of plans. Users can see for each county the change in the average cost of a plan for each plan category, as well as the change in the cost of the benchmark (second-lowest cost) silver plan (for an individual adult aged 30).
Social Interest Solutions (SIS) produced the data and maps using the MAGI Cloud platform, which includes a comprehensive rules engine that can generate ACA eligibility results across all states and across the full spectrum of health insurance options, including Medicaid, CHIP, and Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) with and without premium tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies. Learn more about the MAGI Cloud platform.
To calculate the comparisons in plan choices and monthly premium costs, the MAGI Cloud platform compares HealthCare.gov’s 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 plan data based on the choice or cost parameters the user specifies.
This ACA Spotlight provides plan choice and cost data for the states in which consumers can use HealthCare.gov to purchase and enroll in plans. States that have changed marketplace types since the open enrollment period for 2015 plans will not have data available for the open enrollment periods the state did not use HealthCare.gov as its marketplace.
Not all plan categories are offered in certain areas, especially catastrophic, gold, and/or platinum plans. Additionally, in areas where there is only one silver plan available, the one silver plan is selected as the benchmark silver plan for the area. In areas where there are only two silver plans available, the higher-cost plan is selected as the benchmark silver plan for the area.
Data used in this ACA Spotlight are available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Center for American Progress
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
- Health Reform FAQs
- Potential Savings from Actively Shopping for Marketplace Coverage in 2016
- Analysis of 2016 Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces
- Analysis of Insurer Participation in 2016 Marketplaces
- 2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces
- How the Loss of Cost-Sharing Subsidy Payments is Affecting 2018 Premiums
- How Premiums Are Changing In 2018
- McKinsey & Company
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation