I'm self-employed and it's open enrollment time. My current health insurance was bought on the state exchange but the premium is going up 22% so that certainly encourages you to shop around. I've found two plans that look better because although they have similar premiums, they are HSA-eligible, which I consider a major discount because I get the tax savings from contributing and will probably be able to spend the money tax-free on medical expenses later in life (not to mention the tax-free growth in between).
The first plan is on the state exchange, but it's with a different carrier, which would require me to change doctors. The second plan is with the same carrier, so I wouldn't have to change anything, but it's not on the state exchange. A plan that looks identical according to the specs, but with a slightly different name (Bronze HSA versus Bronze HSA X), is available on the exchange in other counties.
Why would a plan be offered on the exchange in some counties but not in others within the same state? What are the risks I should be aware of when purchasing insurance from outside of the exchanges? I am aware that I will be ineligible for the premium tax credit, but the odds that my income would be low enough to qualify are minimal anyway.