Just launched yesterday for the third open enrollment period, the Get Covered Plan Explorer is now available for people to use (and organizations to embed) for free! This new online tool allows consumers, and the assisters helping them, to compare available marketplace plans and select coverage that best meets their needs and budget. The Plan Explorer provides clear, easy-to-understand information about available plans so people can make educated decisions about how to get the best and most affordable coverage for their family.
Over the first two enrollment periods, we consistently heard from consumers and partners in the assister community that the plan-comparison process can be cumbersome, and a survey we conducted after the second open enrollment period found that almost half of the uninsured say they lack the confidence to pick a plan for themselves in the future. And, in an article last month, the New York Times explained why the Plan Explorer and other plan-comparison tools can help improve the consumer experience. Here are three things to know about the tool:
1. The tool allows consumers to compare marketplace plans based on their lowest estimated cost for the 2016 plan year. For each plan in their area, this estimate includes annual premiums plus the cost of their anticipated health care utilization (based on their self-reported health status and health conditions). Users can also sort and filter by things like monthly premium and plans with lower-out-of-pocket costs (if eligible for cost-sharing reductions).
2. Maintaining our commitment to a “just the facts” approach to consumer education, the tool does not recommend which plan is best for a given consumer. It does provide clear, easy-to-understand information about available plans, so that consumers can make educated decisions about what is best for them and their family.
3. In addition to giving a personalized estimate of yearly cost based on consumers’ medical and financial situations, the Plan Explorer can also help consumers find plans that cover their favorite doctor.
In addition to making the shopping experience more transparent for consumers, we aim to learn what drives consumer behavior and what users need to feel confident and satisfied with their plan selection so that they get covered and stay covered. Check out the Get Covered Plan Explorer today, and make sure to register for our national webinar “Exploring Plans With the Get Covered Plan Explorer” on November 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a walkthrough of the tool, including information on how to embed it on your organization’s website and tips on how to use it with consumers during in-person assistance appointments.