Archive for the ‘Consumers Union’ Category

Creating A Usable Measure Of Actuarial Value

January 18, 2012 Comments off

Creating A Usable Measure Of Actuarial Value
Source: Consumers Union

The concept of actuarial value plays a large role in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is a key piece of information that consumers will use to navigate their coverage choices in the individual and small group markets. It is also used to establish minimum thresholds for coverage and to establish premium tax credit levels. In October 2011, Consumers Union convened a panel of experts to discuss several key issues: (1) how actuarial value will be employed under the health reform law, (2) the definitional and measurement issues associated with its use, and (3) how to craft a measure that is usable by consumers. This brief distills this discussion and identifies the key challenges and issues that regulators must address if actuarial value is to be used effectively under the PPACA.

+ Full Document (PDF)

New Report Shows Health Insurance Labels Help Consumers Evaluate Plans

August 10, 2011 Comments off

New Report Shows Health Insurance Labels Help Consumers Evaluate Plans
Source: Consumers Union

A new report released today says consumers found a new type of health insurance disclosure to be a helpful tool in understanding their coverage options. The report, released by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, is the culmination of consumer interviews and usability testing of Coverage Facts Labels, established in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act as a way for Americans to better understand the coverage offered by health plans.

Lynn Quincy, senior health policy analyst for Consumers Union and co-author of the report, said, “The Coverage Fact Labels were established to help consumers compare health plans apples-to-apples, so we feel consumer feedback must be incorporated in the design of the labels. We consistently heard that the labels helped clarify the purpose and value of health insurance, making shopping for a plan simpler.”

The new Coverage Fact Label takes traditional health plan information, such as premiums and patient cost-sharing, and calculates the bottom line cost for a consumer for several hypothetical medical scenarios such as having a baby, treating breast cancer, and treating diabetes. These coverage examples are part of a longer health insurance disclosure that will be used by all insurers starting in 2012. Two prototypes that were tested were developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

+ Full Report (PDF)


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