After the close of the 2015 health insurance open enrollment period, the federal marketplace boasted a 61% increase in sign-ups on healthcare.gov. But the 14 state exchanges had little to talk about, posting a meager 12% increase in enrollments – just 2.8 million new people.1
In a recent two-part survey organized by GenRe Life Corporation, researchers asked individuals about their thoughts and perspectives regarding health insurance exchanges. Consumers interviewed were required to have at least some knowledge of a health insurance exchange, although a majority of interviewees had a health insurance plan through their employer.
In a city too often polluted by political posturing, a new group recently formed in Washington D.C. is a rare breath of fresh spring air. The coalition for Clear Choices is a movement in support of healthcare transparency, striving for reduced costs and improved health outcomes for all Americans.
HealthCare.com is one of the founding members. Other members include groups as diverse as Aetna, seniors advocacy group AARP, Novo Nordisk, The National Consumer League and several national business groups.
Clear Choices is demanding that Obamacare provide better data to consumers on price and quality, saying it’s easier to compare hotel rooms than it is to choose between healthcare plans.
With the U.S. poised to spend roughly $40 trillion on healthcare over the next decade, the Clear Choices initiative wants consumers to have more control over that spending so they know if they’ve chosen the best doctor for their needs, or how much a major procedure will cost.
The goals of Clear Choices are:
- Better tools for consumers and employers to make informed decisions;
- More data in the hands of more experts to power consumer tools; and
- More competitive markets where consumers can use comparative tools.
Changes to laws that govern transparency can be a huge win for consumers. According to Don Berwick, the former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, lack of transparency and competitive pricing was responsible for between $84 billion and $174 billion in wasteful spending last year.
Transparency, by itself, will not cure all that ails our uncompetitive health care system, but it is a good place to start.
Politically, both Democrats and Republicans see value in transparency. Republicans want markets to work. Democrats want to level the real imbalances in the playing field. And all of us know that better information leads to better decisions.
This is an opportunity for Congress to act quickly to implement reforms designed to make healthcare markets more competitive and consumer friendly before soaring health costs do irreparable harm to our living standards, fiscal balances and social cohesion.
Rest assured, HealthCare.com will be working to do our part.
Read more from The Washington Times.
Subsidies won’t go away no matter what the Supreme Court decides, but they are on shaky ground — long term.
On Monday, April 20, 2015, over 68,000 individuals had taken advantage of the federal government’s extended open enrollment period, which allows individuals and families to enroll in an Obamcare healthcare plan to avoid paying a fine on their 2015 taxes.1 The standard open enrollment period was extended after it was determined approximately 6 million people were surprised to learn they had to pay a tax penalty for not having coverage when filing their 2014 income taxes.