- With the fourth open enrollment period for ACA marketplace health plans six months away, a new CMS blog post last week announced two innovations to be piloted on HealthCare.gov to help consumers make more informed choices.
- The first new feature is the option to select among “Simple Choice Plans” that have a uniform set of features to enable more meaningful and manageable comparisons.
- The second new feature is the Quality Rating System (QRS) to help provide consumers with information on the quality of service provided, how other enrollees rate their care, and the overall enrollee experience.
Both features will be piloted during the 2017 enrollment period to try improve the customer experience, according to the blog authors HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan and CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Dr. Patrick Conway.
"Because shopping is so important to make sure consumers have the plan that is right for them, we are making sure consumers have clear, easy-to-understand information," they wrote.
Consumers are said to be testing the descriptions and display options for the Simple Choice Plans to make them easy to understand. In response to earlier concerns that uniform features would limit insurers' offerings, the blog stated the plan's approach "does not stifle innovation so health plans can continue to offer all kinds of benefit options that will also be easy for consumers to find."
The authors added these plans will also work with HealthCare.gov's other consumer tools, including the physician and prescription drug lookup.
The quality ratings will get a limited rollout, with pilot tests in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin as these states have a large number of participating ACA health plans. State-based marketplaces may also opt to display the quality ratings.