Through the Looking Glass: Window Shopping on the Health Insurance Marketplaces
In a new LDI/RWJF Data Brief, we go window-shopping on each health insurance marketplace, and evaluate what we see in terms of “choice architecture” and decision support. How does Healthcare.gov and each of the 14 state-based marketplaces present the choices available, and how does each site help consumers choose the plan that is right for them?
|The analysis finds few marketplace sites offer significant decision support.|
Robust sorting, but...
We find that the sites generally provide robust sorting and filtering options, but little in the way of recommended decision support. For example, none give shoppers a way to compare total estimated costs (premiums and estimated out-of-pocket expenses) under available plans, although California and Idaho have taken some limited steps toward that goal.
Colorado is unique
Just six states have a tool that allows a shopper to find all participating plans for a given provider, and just one -- Colorado -- enables shoppers to find all plans that cover a specific drug. This is crucial information at a time when plans are using narrow networks and tiered formularies to keep premiums low.
The brief has more details for each site, and can be read here. It is a product of the ongoing work of the LDI Health Insurance Exchanges Research Group, led by Tom Baker, JD and Bob Town, PhD. In a future brief, we will look at the actual shopping experience on each site (once the consumer logs in) and evaluate how information appears to the real-life buyer.