Covered California says average cost of health care insurance increasing about 4 percent

Californians buying individual health plans on the state insurance exchange will see an average increase of about 4 percent in premiums for the second year in a row.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee announced Monday that the average 4 percent increase in 2016 marks a slight decrease from the 4.2 percent jump in 2015.

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The average increase in Southern California is 1.8 percent and 7 percent in Northern California.

Lee says the new rates are proof that the Affordable Care Act is working in California.

The state actively uses its size and the health of its enrollment population to help negotiate prices. It also imposes standardized benefits on participating plans.

The exchange is adding plans to certain regions for the first time, including UnitedHealthcare and a New York startup called Oscar.