As Health Plans Become Less Standardized, Consumer Decision-Support Tools Will Be Critical

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<p>Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it was nearly impossible for consumers shopping for coverage to compare the benefits, costs, and provider networks of different health plans. In a new post on<em> To the Point</em>, Georgetown University’s Justin Giovannelli, Emily Curran, and Kevin Lucia explain that the decision- support tools in the ACA marketplaces have made it easier for people to draw meaningful comparisons between plans. Such digital tools include total cost estimators, which provide customized estimates of what consumers can expect to pay on a monthly basis, and provider directories, which allow users to search for health care providers covered by a plan. </p><p>The authors point out that the Trump administration is currently moving to reduce federal market regulation and oversight. Should the administration allow greater variation in plan designs, it may become more challenging—but even more critical—to develop and maintain support tools.</p> Read the post