New plan-comparison tool will give consumers a personalized yearly cost
estimate for each plan available to them, based on their unique characteristics
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 5, 2015
WASHINGTON – Today Enroll America announced that their new plan-comparison tool, the Get Covered Plan Explorer, is live and available to consumers who are choosing a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, and to the in-person assisters who help them enroll.
The free tool can be found at www.getcoveredamerica.org/explorer. The Plan Explorer – offered through a partnership with Clear Health Analytics and HealthSherpa – was created after Enroll America research found that nearly half of the uninsured lack confidence in choosing a health insurance plan. Unlike many other plan-comparison tools, the Plan Explorer uses data drawn from cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to offer each consumer a personalized cost estimate based on their unique characteristics and health care needs.
“Estimating how much health care you’ll use – and how premiums, tax credits, deductibles, copays, and more will change your yearly costs – is tough for experts, let alone consumers,” said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America. “That’s something our staff, volunteers, and partners hear a lot from consumers, and the Plan Explorer is a big step towards removing that obstacle to successful enrollment. If we can help consumers find the best plan for their needs and budget, they’ll be more likely to use their insurance, and keep renewing for years to come.”
The Get Covered Plan Explorer gives users a personalized estimate of their health care costs for the year (as well as whether their preferred doctors are covered) under each Marketplace plan available to them, based on a few short questions about the user and their health status. That simple yearly cost estimate includes premiums, tax credits, and out-of-pocket costs (accounting for cost sharing reductions, when applicable), based on the consumer’s expected health care usage and the benefit details of each specific plan. The Plan Explorer is unique among similar plan-comparison tools in that the estimate is personalized based on the user’s age, location, sex, self-reported health status, and whether they have one of 11 common but expensive conditions (like back problems or diabetes).
That personalized usage estimate is made possible by an artificial intelligence technology that Clear Health Analytics (a health data and analytics firm) is applying to health care data for the first time. Most historical health care usage and cost data is messy, complex, and difficult to analyze using traditional methods. In order to overcome that obstacle, Clear Health Analytics used a machine learning technique to build a predictive model of health care costs. That technique – similar to the predictive algorithms used by Amazon or Netflix – means that the Plan Explorer can, for the first time, estimate an individual’s health care usage and costs based on their actual self-reported health status.
The Plan Explorer is structured to make enrollment as easy as possible for all types of consumers, and all users are directed to the place where Enroll America believes they’ll have the best chance to successfully enroll – whether that is HealthCare.gov, the licensed web-broker HealthSherpa, or a Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, or state-based marketplace website. Thanks to the partnership with HealthSherpa, most users who choose a marketplace plan on the Plan Explorer will be moved seamlessly to HealthSherpa to continue the enrollment process, without having to restart the process from the beginning.
The Plan Explorer is free for other organizations to embed on their websites, and Enroll America is encouraging their thousands of in-person assister partners to make the tool available to the consumers they work with as well. Consumers can also email themselves a comparison of two to three plans, and bring it with them to their appointment with a local enrollment assister. To facilitate access to in-person help, Enroll America is continuing to offer the very popular Get Covered Connector, its in-person assistance scheduling tool, which will have more than one million appointments available for consumers to choose from during the open enrollment period.
About Enroll America and Get Covered America
Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 6,700 partners in all 50 states to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Get Covered America campaign was created in 2013 to inform millions of eligible consumers about their new health insurance options, and has been tested, refined, and proven successful through two enrollment cycles. Get Covered America programs and tools are now being utilized by partners in enrollment efforts nationwide, supported by more than 100 Enroll America staff working both nationally and on-the-ground in targeted communities across the country.