Not so Informed Consumers?

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Covered California, the state’s Health Insurance Exchange, has decided against showing insurance company ratings to buyers on the exchange during the upcoming open enrollment. This recent change to Covered California’s policies will make it more difficult for buyers to shop for their health plans based on performance when purchasing coverage for 2014. The State of California gathers data on health insurance provider performance in a number of areas (diabetes care, heart care, whether they provide the recommended care, etc…) and turns this information into a rating for each provider.

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Americans to be covered by health insurance or pay a fine. Covered California is the only place where individuals and small businesses can qualify for subsidies to help pay for the health insurance they need to avoid paying the fine. One of the objectives of Covered California was to assist buyers to make better purchasing decisions if they shop for and purchase health insurance in a centralized market. The lack of provider performance ratings on Covered California will be a significant gap in consumer purchasing information.