Competitive Obamacare prices may lure employers

The phrase “sticker shock” has made headlines in stories about individual Obamacare enrollees, but premium prices for health insurance plans sold on Obamacare exchanges nationally are actually about the same—and in some cases cheaper—than premiums for comparable employer-offered plans, a new analysis reveals.

If that trend holds in coming years, employers may strongly consider moving their workers into those public Obamacare exchanges for health coverage, once that is an option in 2017, a report released Thursday by PwC’s Health Research Institute said. That could land millions more people in those exchanges.

“There’s been a perception that the plans on the exchanges were not a good deal, that they were either a lot more expensive, or didn’t provide much in the way of coverage,” said Ceci Connolly, managing directly of PwC’s HRI.

Given that, Connolly said, “we were a little bit surprised” when PwC crunched the price data and found “the exchanges are competitive, and even cheaper in some instances.” She also said that PwC clients “have been very intrigued by” the results.

The report found that the median rate of Obamacare exchange-sold plans that offer coverage comparable to employer-offered plans is $5,844 annually.

That’s 4 percent less than the $6,119 for the average cost of an employer-provided plan of comparable benefits coverage, the report found.

If consumers opted for the lowest-priced Obamacare plans in each state, the price difference was even more dramatic: 20 percent less, at an average cost of $4,885.

“Across the board, at every level, average exchange premiums are lower than this year’s average premiums for employer-sponsored coverage,” the report said

Read the full article at CNBC: Competitive Obamacare prices may lure employers