Health insurance has made it into the holiday shopping season

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Recently released federal data has shown that there are a considerable number of people returning to the exchanges.

Aside from enrolling new health insurance customers, one of the most important achievements that the exchanges need to accomplish are to encourage last year’s customers to return in order to purchase their coverage.

This holiday shopping season, enrolling through the insurance exchanges is exactly what Americans have been doing.

The federal government has recently released data that shows that consumers are returning this year after having used the health insurance exchanges last year. In fact, over 30 percent of the people who had used the federal marketplace and who have re-enrolled for their coverage for 2015 have done so through the use of the Healthcare.gov website, once more. There, they selected a plan for themselves and their families. This, according to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

This returning customer behavior is far greater at the federal health insurance marketplace than the state based sites.

health insurance industryThough the figure may seem to be low as it is close to only a third of last year’s consumers, it is higher than what many in the insurance industry had expected and it is greater than the trends being seen in other public marketplaces. Even the Obama administration had not expected as many return customers, which is why they had created a setting on the exchange that would allow policy renewal to occur automatically for people who wanted to keep their current health plans or to enter into one that was exceptionally similar.

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The figures that were released estimated that among the people who shopped on the federal insurance exchange last year, 4.5 million of them have come back to enroll in plans for 2015. Among those returning consumers, Burwell stated that this number – which represented about 30 percent – should be considered in the “mid-to-high” range.

An analysis conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services produced an estimate that about 70 percent of consumers that used the exchange in order to shop around for their coverage would be able to locate a less expensive plan within the same category, provided they were willing to use the site and make the switch.

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