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ACA premiums are going down as competition increases

Premiums are going down and competition is going up as we head into the next Affordable Care Act enrollment period.

The big picture: Those are both good signs. But those metrics are improving, in part, because they got so much worse over the past several years.

By the numbers: The average premium for a 27-year-old, for a middle-of-the-road plan, will be 4% lower in 2020 than it was this year, the Health and Human Services Department announced yesterday.

  • There will be 20 more insurers selling plans through HealthCare.gov, for a total of 175.
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Yes, but: These lower premiums and increased competition will benefit people who get federal help paying their premiums, but unsubsidized consumers have fled the market and aren’t likely to come back.

    • The Trump administration has not tried to stop that exodus. Instead, it has opened up more access to inexpensive, often bare-bones options outside of the exchanges.
    • Insurers initially mispriced their plans, then settled into a more stable market, then freaked out in response to many of Trump’s actions, and are now settling back down again.

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