A New Tool for Comparing Health Care Plans
The Department of Health and Human Services is trying to save small businesses time and hopefully, money.
It's launched a new tool at Healthcare.gov to help find and compare health insurance plans. Called the Insurance Finder, the tool lets you comparison shop what's available by ZIP code, and sort by out-of-pocket limits, average cost per enrollee, whether plans have maternity coverage, and a variety of other factors. You can also get a summary of cost and coverage for small group products that shows the available deductibles, the range of co-pay options, and what additional benefits are available and how much extra you'll pay. (Access Insurance Finder by clicking on the blue tab at the top of the page at Healthcare.gov.)
"This new information will help business owners navigate what has traditionally been a complicated and confusing decision," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Both owners and their employees can feel more confident that the plans offered will be the best to suit everyone’s needs."
The government says the website is the first of its kind to provide comprehensive, easily searchable information about health care plans. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services collected the benefits information from more than 530 insurers offering some 2,700 coverage plans across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Healthcare.gov was established as a result of the health care reform law that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. It also provides information about consumer rights, tips for navigating the market, and details on the protection the Affordable Care Act offers.
Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.