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Health secretary on New Jersey ACA Marketplace: "real prices in real time" by October

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Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, told a press conference at University Hospital in Newark today that information will be made public at the end of this month about the coverage and the prices of health insurance plans that insurers will start selling Oct. 1 on the new federal Marketplace that will be launched on that date under the Affordable Care Act.

Asked if New Jersey can expect health insurance prices to rise, Sebelius responded "I think New Jersey is likely to see a couple of things. What we know is, we have a number of new companies that have entered the market. And that's good news, because competition actually brings prices down."

She said about 900,000 New Jerseyans will be eligible for some form of federal subsidy to get coverage; about half will qualify for subsidies on the Marketplace to help them afford the coverage that health insurers will sell, and half will be eligible for Medicaid, which is being expanded.

Earlier today Sebelius held a press conference at Rite-Aid in Hoboken, which announced it will help the uninsured enroll in health coverage via the ACA.

She said contracts with health insurers who will sell products on the Marketplace are being signed now, and that the information about those plans will be made public at the end of this months; she declined to name an exact date.

"We are going to have the prices and the plans available at the end of September, so prior to the shopping experience. But again Oct. 1 is the beginning of a six month open enrollment. Plans do not offer benefits until Jan. 1 so we will have plenty of information including real prices in real time by Oct. 1."

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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