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Consumers may pay 17% less for off-exchange health coverage

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Average purchasers of off-exchange health coverage might be paying considerably less than users.

A Mountain View, California-based web broker, eHealth, reported Thursday that its own customers are paying an average of $321 per month for 2016 individual major medical coverage and an average of $833 per month for 2016 family coverage.

The 70,000 users of the company’s site have an average individual deductible of about $4,400, and an average family deductible of about $8,000.

About 40 percent of the customers said they were uninsured when they bought coverage, according to the eHealth report.

Related: More PPACA World earnings: Aon, Marsh, eHealth, Molina, Aflac

The individual major medical coverage open enrollment period for 2017 is set to run from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

Web brokers like eHealth will have to compete for major medical business head to head with, the Affordable Care Act public health exchange enrollment system set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In some states, the private web brokers will have to compete with state-based ACA exchange programs.

Related: ACA exchanges hungry for off-exchange prospects

Managers of reported in April that consumers who bought coverage from issuers during the open enrollment period for this year chose plans with an average monthly premium of $386.

That might mean that the average cost of off-exchange plan coverage is 17 percent less than the average cost of plan coverage.

But making apples-to-apples comparisons is difficult, because only about 15 percent of the users actually paid the full price for their coverage.

Eighty-five percent of the plan purchasers are using ACA tax credits to reduce what they pay out of pocket for coverage.

Colorado has a state-based ACA public exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, that reports more sales data than

In Colorado, the full monthly cost of public exchange plan coverage is just $248 for exchange users who have to pay all of the bills themselves, and $448 per month for exchange users who qualify for subsidies.

If users act like Connect for Health Colorado users, the average monthly premium for plan users who have to pay all of the premiums themselves might be much lower than $386.


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