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Administration: ‘Obamacare’ to offer more choices



WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says insurance companies are showing interest in providing coverage under the new health care law, a development likely to increase market competition and give uninsured people more choices than they now have. Many of the 14 million people who currently buy their own insurance plans could also benefit.

A White House memo concludes that most of the consumers who seek insurance from federal- or state-run insurance markets will be able to choose from five or more different insurance companies.

Currently the insurance market in most states is dominated by one or two insurance carriers.

What the changes will mean for premiums remains an open question. A new report by Center Forward, a centrist research group that has its roots with the moderate Blue Dog wing of the Democratic Party, concluded that differences in current state regulations will determine the effect on premiums. Of six states it examined, the report determined that five would see sharp premium increases of up to 50 or 60 percent. The exception was New Jersey, which the report suggested could see a drop in premiums of up to 25 percent.