Consumers See Big Variations In Costs And Networks

A Kaiser Health News analysis shows that a buyer's home county may make a big difference in the insurance options they can choose from on the new online insurance marketplaces, while Politico reports that areas where co-op plans are offered are seeing lower prices.

Kaiser Health News: Marketplace Plans Vary Widely In Costs, Within Counties And Across The Country
Consumers shopping in the new health insurance marketplaces will face a bewildering array of competing plans in some counties and sparse options in other places, with people in some areas of the country having to pay much more for the identical level of coverage than consumers elsewhere (Rau and Appleby, 10/4).

Politico: Lower Premiums In Co-Op States
States with new member-owned CO-OP health plans as part of Obamacare have premiums that are more than 8 percent lower than states that don't, a new study shows. The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, with startup money loaned by the health care law, have zero or very few customers yet, given all the problems with the sign-up system. But they are going toe-to-toe with traditional insurers on the exchanges in 22 states, introducing new competition to insurance markets. And there's some early evidence that they may be helping to lower costs (Norman, 10/7).

And in other reports on coverage concerns -

The Kansas City Star: Check Before You Click 'Yes' On A Bargain Obamacare Plan
If you're persistent enough to get onto the Obamacare marketplace website to shop for a health insurance plan, here's something to keep in mind: The best bargains to be found in the federal marketplace might not include all the hospitals or doctors you're familiar with (Bavley and Stafford, 10/6).

The Associated Press: 4 Tips For Buying Health Insurance Without Help From The Overhaul's Income-Based Subsidies
The health care overhaul is expected to help millions of uninsured obtain coverage, but that assistance has limits. Individuals who do not have the option to obtain insurance from their employer, and who make more than about $46,000 — or a family of four bringing in more than $94,200 — will not be eligible for income-based tax credits under the new health care law. ... Here are some shopping tips to consider (Murphy, 10/4).

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