Changes in competition in the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace affected premium growth in benchmark plans between 2014 and 2015, according to a report released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services. Premiums for the second-lowest cost silver plan grew an average 2% in the 35 states using the platform in both years, HHS said. In counties that experienced a net gain in the number of participating health insurance issuers, the premium growth rate for those plans was 8.4 percentage points lower than in other counties, the report adds. About 59% of counties in the 35 states saw an increase in health insurance issuers, while 8% saw a decrease.