Covered California's Obamacare exchange has helped consumers get a better deal on health insurance in part because of its negotiating power -- power that other Affordable Care Act marketplaces don't have -- according to a new analysis published Monday.
California is one of the few states that created an "active purchaser" exchange, where the marketplace negotiates premiums and benefits with insurers. Most other states, as well as the federal healthcare.gov, accept any plan that seeks to participate.
Researchers compared California and New York and looked at the growth in premiums in 2014 and 2015 in the face of hospital competition and health plan competition.
While less hospital competition was associated with higher premium increases in both states, the effect of reduced insurance plan competition played out differently.
In New York, less competition in insurance resulted in higher premium growth. But in California, similar "low competition" areas had a slower rise in premiums.