By Felice J. Freyer

The Boston Globe

Thousands of people who buy subsidized health insurance will face substantial premium increases — an average of 21 percent — if they want to keep the only plan that gives them access to certain prestigious Boston hospitals.

That insurer, Neighborhood Health Plan, has raised its rates dramatically for customers of the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state agency that serves people who don’t get insurance from an employer.

Neighborhood Health, which covers one-fourth of Connector enrollees, is the only subsidized health plan whose provider network includes Partners HealthCare, owner of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The news came as a shock to the Connector’s governing board, which learned Thursday about the premiums for 2017, as well as a cutback in a state program that reduces premiums.

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