A much more transparent shopping experience awaits consumers at the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces during the initial open-enrollment period from Oct. 1 to March 31, Georgetown University research fellow Sarah Dash said. Consumers can choose from five levels of plans, with varying premiums and out-of-pocket costs. "People will need to decide what level of coverage they want to take, whether it's very bare-bones or very generous," Rand's Carter Price said.

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