“Simple Choice Plans” to Debut in 2017 Marketplace Enrollment
Despite concern about health insurers exiting the marketplaces where people buy individual coverage, in many areas consumers will likely still have a choice of plans when the 2017 open enrollment starts in November. Aiming to make picking a plan easier, the federal government, which runs the marketplaces in roughly two-thirds of states, is encouraging insurers to offer “simple choice plans” as an option this fall. The six new standardized plan designs will eliminate many of the moving parts that have bedeviled consumers trying to make apples-to-apples comparisons between plans. The government is providing guidelines for a simple choice plan at each of the bronze, silver and gold levels, and three more silver options for people who qualify for cost-sharing reductions based on their income. In these plans, the deductibles and annual limits on out-of-pocket spending will be standardized, as will many of the consumer payments for medical services. In the simple choice silver plan, for example, the deductible will be $3,500 and the maximum amount that someone will owe out-of-pocket for the year will be $7,100. For many specific services, consumers will have flat dollar copayments for services up front rather than having to meet their deductible before the plan picks up any of the tab. Some of these include primary care visits ($30), specialist visits ($65), urgent care ($75) and generic drugs ($15). Insurers won’t be required to offer standardized plans on the federal marketplace, just as they aren’t required to do so in most of the state-based marketplaces that offer such plans.
Source/more: Kaiser Health News
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.