- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland consumers next year will have more choices than consumers in many other states in health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama’s 2014 health care overhaul, an analysis for The Associated Press shows.

The county-by-county analysis by Avalere Health, a consulting and data-crunching company that has tracked the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare since its start, finds Maryland among nine states that will have three or more participating insurers in its counties.

From 2014 to 2016, all of Maryland’s counties and the city of Baltimore had three or more participating insurers. That will continue into 2017.

Still, while Maryland is robust compared to other states for participating insurers, the state will see some drop-off next year, compared to previous years.

For example, 17 counties will have fewer participating insurers next year.

Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties will drop from five to three. Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties will drop from four to three. Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will dip from five to four.

The three-month signup season is scheduled to begin Tuesday through HealthCare.gov and state-run markets, from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. Officials emphasize that customers will have a choice among different plans offered by one carrier.

Nationwide, about one-third of U.S. counties will have one health marketplace insurer in 2017. That’s double the number that had only one from 2014, which was the first year of coverage through the program.

Avalere and the AP compiled insurance marketplace data from 49 states and the District of Columbia for the analysis. That represents markets in 3,129 counties, where 12.3 million people selected plans for 2016. Only Massachusetts was unable to provide data by this week.

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