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Obamacare Shoppers Get Sneak Peek At New Prices

Health insurance consumers using HealthCare.gov will get their first look at the prices for 2015 coverage starting Sunday night, when window shopping goes live on the website, federal officials announced Sunday.

Shoppers won’t be able to choose a health plan for 2015 until Nov. 15, when the three-month enrollment period begins. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is providing early access to estimated health insurance premiums and the value of subsidies available to low- and moderate-income households. The window-shopping tool proved to be the most-visited part of HealthCare.gov during the first Obamacare enrollment period, officials said.

HealthCare.gov, which serves insurance consumers in more than 30 states, debuted Oct. 1, 2013, without the ability for people to window shop, which forced users to create accounts and begin applications for coverage before they could view prices. And since the website was barely functional for the first two months of the six-month sign-up period last year, the absence of this tool made it nearly impossible for people to gauge whether they could afford coverage — and put greater strain on the system — until the feature was added.

Obamacare officials said they would release an analysis of the health insurance premiums for 2015 later this week.

“We think the news is largely positive,” said Kevin Counihan, the CEO ofHealthCare.gov and the director of the Center for Consumer and Information and Insurance Oversight within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.




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