|KHN Staff Writer|
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This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.
The number of health insurance companies offering plans in the marketplaces this fall will increase by 25 percent, giving consumers more choices for coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell (Photo via C-SPAN).
When the marketplace enrollment reopens in November, 77 new insurers will be offering coverage in the 44 states for which HHS had data, which includes the 36 states that use the federal marketplace and eight states that run their own, the department reported.
The number of competitors on the marketplaces is considered important because it signifies the vitality of the exchange and can mean increased competition and lower prices for consumers. It also means that insurers see the health law’s online marketplaces or exchanges, as a good business opportunity, senior HHS officials said.
Nine insurers that offered coverage in the federal marketplaces and four that offered plans in the state exchanges for 2014 won’t do so again in 2015, but most of those insurers’ parent companies will be active in the respective states’ exchanges, according to the report.
In her remarks at the Brookings Institution Tuesday, Burwell said, her first priority "is improving access and affordability through the marketplace. In order to make sure that Americans continue to access affordable...