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HHS sees modest increases in Obamacare premiums for 2015

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The Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday that said health insurance premiums under Obamacare would rise modestly in 2015 compared to 2014.

According to the HHS report, premiums for Obamacare's "benchmark" insurance coverage, which is the second-lowest cost health plan in the "silver" category, will rise by an average of 2 percent. Premiums for the lowest-cost silver plan will rise 5 percent.

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But HHS said 2015 will also give people more choices when they use Obamacare to buy a health plan, and said many should be able to find savings if they shop around on the website.

"The health insurance marketplace is open for business, and consumers have affordable choices for renewing their coverage and signing up for the first time," said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. "In today's marketplace, issuers are competing for business. With additional quality, affordable plans available, returning customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save."

Data used in the report came from a survey of 35 states for which data was available. The average increases reflect changes across these states that are as high as a 20 percent increase in Alaska, and a 20 percent drop in Mississippi.

According to that data, premiums will fall in 14 states, rise in 19 others, and remain flat in two states.

The administration had delayed the publication of information about premium increases until after the midterm elections. However, one private analysis said premiums would rise an average of 5.6 percent, and that some states would see increases as high as 20 percent.

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