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Officials: It pays to shop on insurance marketplace

FARGO - Officials say it pays to shop around for health insurance coverage under the new marketplace that is part of the Affordable Care Act. North Dakota consumers who re-enrolled for health coverage through the online marketplace last year save...

FARGO - Officials say it pays to shop around for health insurance coverage under the new marketplace that is part of the Affordable Care Act.

North Dakota consumers who re-enrolled for health coverage through the online marketplace last year saved an average of $19 per month after tax credits, or $229 annually, according to federal government figures released Wednesday.

Combined, North Dakota residents returning to the marketplace who switched coverage saved a total of $449,633 in annual premiums by shopping around, according the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Our message to returning marketplace customers in North Dakota is simple - shopping may save you money," Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said in a statement.

Last year, almost a third of returning enrollees in North Dakota switched coverage, according to the report.

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Beginning Sunday, consumers who want to continue their coverage through the marketplace can update their information and select an insurance plan for 2016. Consumers can elect to remain in their current plan if it's still available, or may pick a new plan.

Any coverage changes must be made by Dec. 15 to take effect for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

A rate snapshot for health insurance plans that will be available next year in North Dakota shows an average 8.9 percent increase for silver plans, according to an analysis by Health and Human Services. Those increases do not reflect any premium tax credits, available to those with qualifying incomes.

About eight of every 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan with premiums of less than $100 a month after tax credits, according to HHS.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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