A Comparison of Private and Public Exchanges

Government exchanges have more health insurance options than do private exchanges operated by two major brokers in the Obamacare and Medicare health insurance markets. A  HealthPocket study compared exchanges in 11 major U.S. cities  for the Obamacare health plan market and for the Medicare Advantage health plan market.

While the government exchanges performed better with respect to inventory breadth, they often did not display the complete inventory of Obamacare products, excluding off-exchange health plan options in many cases. Consequently, consumers could not review a complete set of health plan options on either the government exchanges or the broker exchange web sites examined.For the Obamacare market, each city’s local government health insurance marketplace was compared to the private exchange from the broker eHealth, Inc., the first broker-run health insurance exchange in the United States. For the Medicare Advantage health plan market, Medicare.gov was compared to OneExchange (originally known as Extend Health prior to its acquisition by Towers Watson), the first broken-run Medicare exchange. Private exchanges operated by insurance companies or consumer information web sites were not examined as part of this study. The following are key findings:
• On average, the broker exchange had 29% fewer Obamacare plans than did the government exchanges.
• The lowest available Obamacare premium averaged 6.5% higher in the broker exchange than in the government exchanges.
• In all 11 cities, the government’s Medicare.gov exchange displayed more Medicare Advantage plans than the broker exchange.
• The broker exchange displayed one third as many 5-star Medicare Advantage plans as Medicare.gov.

For more information, visit HealthPocket.com.

Last Updated 09/23/2020

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