In 2019, the Washington legislature enacted a bill requiring insurers on the state’s health insurance exchange to offer plans with standardized benefit designs, beginning in 2021. Colorado and Maryland are considering similar requirements. As these and other states consider the option of standardized health plans, they can benefit from the experiences of California, the District of Columbia (D.C.), Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, all of which require insurers to offer standardized benefit designs. This Expert Perspective outlines benefits and risks of plan standardization, and raises critical questions that states will need to consider, and offers a decision roadmap for states implementing a standardized benefit design requirement.
Messaging to Help Consumers Navigate Skinny Health Plans: A Toolkit for Marketplace Communicators
Recent federal rules on Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance and Association Health Plans mean that some insurers may now offer products that don’t adhere to previous Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.
Without the consumer protections guaranteed by the ACA, “skinny” health plans may be offered more widely across the country, with state-by-state variance depending on state law. These plans come with some financial risk to the consumer should he/she need to use their coverage. “Skinny” plans might not provide coverage for essential health benefits, can impose lifetime and annual limits, and they’re not always subject to cost-sharing limits.
As “skinny” plans are increasingly marketed and sold across the country, it’s important for Marketplaces and Departments of Insurance to provide consumers with the information they need to make good decisions when buying health insurance. This toolkit contains a variety of communications resources designed to support Marketplaces, state agencies and other partners in these public education efforts.
- The messaging, fact sheet, blog post and op-ed template resources in this toolkit are customizable: look for [BRACKETS] and insert relevant state information.
- Resources are downloadable from this toolkit: follow the instructions throughout to download materials.