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Opinion
Christopher Flavelle

Obamacare Is Only Human

The government's case for assigning health-care plans just got stronger. Is the allure of choice overblown?
Can we bridge the gap?

Can we bridge the gap?

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It turns out that most people who enrolled in health insurance for 2014 through HealthCare.gov didn't bother going back to the site to shop around for better prices for 2015. That means they will pay higher premiums than necessary. It also raises a separate question: What's the point of having options if so few people use them?

Obamacare exchanges work like this: People buying coverage on the individual market can go to a website, where private insurers offer plans with standardized benefits. That makes it easy to compare prices, which gives insurers an incentive to compete on cost. Those costs are in turn heavily subsidized by the federal government.