Federal ACA marketplace to offer standardized health plans: 5 things to know

Consumers will see standardized health plans as an option when they go to shop on the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace for 2017 coverage, reports The New York Times.

Here are five things to know about the standardized plans.

1. The plans, also called "simple choice" plans, cover basic services without a deductible. For instance, the standardized version of a midlevel silver plan has a $3,500 deductible, but certain services, such as primary care and specialty care visits, outpatient mental health services and prescription drugs, are generally exempt from the deductible, according to the article.

2. The standardized options are meant to address consumer concerns about high-deductible plans, which they say have little benefit aside from covering catastrophic problems, reports The New York Times. Federal officials said the standardized options are to ensure "enrollees receive some upfront value for their premium dollars."

3. Although President Barack Obama's administration specifies deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs for the standardized options, it does not limit premiums, according to the report. The administration said it does not expect the standardized options to significantly impact premium cost in 2017.

4. Administration officials did not disclose in the report how many standardized plans will be available, in which states they will be offered or the cost of the plans. In September, the government encouraged insurers to offer six standardized options with various deductibles and cost-sharing limitations, but did not require insurers to offer the standardized options.

5. The standardized options will be available on HealthCare.gov when the ACA exchange opens next month for the law's fourth open enrollment period. The open enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.


More articles about payer issues:
Most of NC will have one insurer selling in the 2017 ACA marketplace
Cigna faces allegations of prescription overcharging tactics
Michigan small businesses look to state for health insurance assistance

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