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Newsletter Article


Choice and Design in the State Health Insurance Marketplaces

With the new state and federal health insurance marketplaces now beginning to overcome their initial challenges, two new issue briefs from The Commonwealth Fund take a look at what states are doing to ensure that consumers will find health plans that satisfy their needs and preferences.

  • How Are State Insurance Marketplaces Shaping Health Plan Design? 
    Part of states' roles in administering the new health insurance marketplaces is to certify the health plans offered to consumers. In this brief, George Washington University's Sara Rosenbaum, J.D., and colleagues examine how states running their own marketplaces and those operating them in partnership with the federal government are using the flexibility they have under the Affordable Care Act to shape the health plans sold to consumers. The analysis focuses on the adequacy of provider networks, the inclusion of essential community providers, and benefit substitution.
  • What States Are Doing to Simplify Health Plan Choice in the Insurance Marketplaces? 
    To optimize the purchasing experience in the marketplaces, states set uniform coverage levels for health plans and provide consumers with tools to explore their options. This brief, by Christine H. Monahan and her colleagues from Georgetown University, 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

Over the coming weeks and months, The Commonwealth Fund will provide regular updates and analyses of the insurance marketplaces and consumers' experiences throughout the open enrollment period. And be sure to explore our interactive marketplace map.

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