What States Are Doing to Simplify Health Plan Choice in the Insurance Marketplaces

December 18, 2013 | Volume 34

Authors: Christine H. Monahan, Sarah J. Dash, M.P.H., Kevin W. Lucia, J.D., M.P.H., and Sabrina Corlette, J.D., Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute
Contact: Sarah J. Dash, M.P.H., Research Fellow, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, sd850@georgetown.edu
Editor: Martha Hostetter

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Overview

The new health insurance marketplaces aim to improve consumers’ purchasing experiences by setting uniform coverage levels for health plans and giving them tools to explore their options. Marketplace administrators may choose to limit the number and type of plans offered to further simplify consumer decision-making. This issue brief examines the policies set by some state-based marketplaces to simplify plan choices: adopting a meaningful difference standard, limiting the number of plans or benefit designs insurers may offer, or requiring standardized benefit designs. Eleven states and the District of Columbia took one or more of these actions for 2014, though their policies vary in terms of their prescriptiveness. Tracking the effects of these different approaches will enhance understanding of how best to enable consumers to make optimal health insurance purchasing decisions and set the stage for future refinements.

Citation

C. H. Monahan, S. J. Dash, K. W. Lucia et al., What States Are Doing to Simplify Health Plan Choice in the Insurance Marketplaces, The Commonwealth Fund, December 2013.