More From Ezra – Connector Makes Shopping Easy

As a followup to his column Saturday (and our blog report), Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein exposes the nation to the ease of using the Connector website to compare and purchase plans, by highlighting a Bay State reader’s comment:

I’m a resident of MA, although I get insurance through my employer, where this year we were able to choose between a whopping two different insurance plans. Out of curiosity, I went to the website of the MA health connector, and I would recommend it as an enlightening exercise to you and any other interested readers.

If you click through a few options describing your situation, you’ll get to a page that displays your choices for a health plan (if you lived in MA). It is nothing short of astounding. All the different plans are clearly arranged in a table according to the benefit level they offer, with out-of-pocket costs clearly indicated. For any given level of benefits, you can see all the companies offering that type of plan and the monthly premium. Not-so-surprisingly, it becomes perfectly clear that some companies offer a given plan at 50% higher cost than others. It’s no small wonder then that competition is driving down premiums in the exchange. Now this is what a health care marketplace looks like!

Note that the ease of comparison was greatly enhanced last year when the Connector moved to standardize the plans within each coverage tier. Previously, the plans were grouped by “actuarial value,” which confused prospective purchasers and made direct comparisons impossible. Now the standardized plans simplifies the comparison and promotes direct competition. We’ve been urging other states to learn from this and other lessons of Massachusetts as they set up their own exchanges.
-Brian Rosman

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1 Response to More From Ezra – Connector Makes Shopping Easy

  1. dennis byron says:

    We’ve heard this song before: People who don’t really use the Connector, but just “pretend to use it” like Klein’s gushing reader (or an Obamanista writing on Forbes some time back) think it’s just “enlightening.” Those of us forced to buy our insurance through the Connector, on the other hand, find it to be probably the worse ecommerce site ever developed (by an out of state firm, no less — so we shipped tax dollars out of Mass. to get this lousy web site). And the web site is backed up by even worse business practices.
    — To compare more than three policies, you have to back out and enter all your data all over again.
    — The gold/silver/bronze differentiators are infantile.
    — The epay capabilities are all on a separate web site different from where you buy the insurance.
    — It is almost impossible to really dig into the features of one policy vs. another without going back to the insurer (removing the advantage of using a broker).
    — And on and on.

    Keep deluding yourselves that this is good stuff and something for others to learn from, Brian!

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