The Government Accountability Office's report looked at the prices for plans for individual coverage in 1,886 counties in 28 states where sufficient data was available. The GAO examined plans sold both on the government exchanges, as well as those sold outside the marketplaces, either directly by the insurers themselves, or via Web-based and traditional brick-and-mortar brokers.
More plans are available outside Obamacare exchanges than on the exchanges.
However, people with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level can qualify for federal subsidies to help pay for their individual health plans only if they buy coverage through Obamacare exchanges that are run by the federal government or individual states. About 84 percent of the current 9.9 million Obamacare exchange customers pay reduced premiums because of those subsidies.
The GAO found that in 2014, the lowest-priced plan "was available on an exchange in most counties."
"For example, among the 1,886 counties analyzed, GAO found that the lowest-cost silver plan for a 30-year-old was available on an exchange in 63 percent of those counties in 2014," the report said.
This year, the lowest-cost silver plan for that hypothetical customer was available in 81 percent of those counties, an 18-percentage point jump, the GAO noted.
Obamacare plans are divided into tiers named after metals—bronze, silver, gold and platinum—which reflect the share of health services covered by a plan versus what customers pay out of pocket. Silver plans, which cover 70 percent of customers' benefits, are the most popular plans on exchanges, with the highest level of enrollments.