Having the facts can make all the difference when it comes to health insurance. To make the most of new choices, protections and financial help, you need good information. This guide can help you find quality coverage that won’t break the bank.
When it comes to health care, there are few magic-bullet solutions for the many problems consumers face in the marketplace: insurers don’t compete for their business, leading to higher prices and lower quality. Important information about coverage is buried in the fine print, making it hard to know what’s really covered or which plan is right. And costs are continuing their unsustainable rise.
Now the fight for health care reform is in Providence, and so are the health care industry’s lobbyists. At stake is how we set up a new insurance marketplace in Rhode Island — the single biggest tool we have to clean up health care.
Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and other states should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by consumer group RIPIRG. Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage. Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014. The report closely examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.
The creation of a new health insurance exchange offers our state the chance to build a better marketplace for health care. The exchange can help individuals and small businesses by increasing competition and improving choices in the state’s insurance market. By providing better options and better information, and negotiating on behalf of its enrollees, the exchange can level the playing field for consumers. Success is not assured, however, as states confronting the task of setting up their exchange must grapple with important policy questions. This report is a blueprint for creating a strong, pro-consumer exchange that lives up to its promise of a better marketplace.