By Lisa Zamosky
How much do you know about the kind of health insurance plan options that will be available to you through new health insurance Marketplaces being set up under the Affordable Care Act? If you’re like most people, not much.
HealthPocket.com, a website that allows you to compare health insurance plans in your area, side-by-side, conducted a recent survey that highlights just how much education the public needs in the six months left until the Marketplaces are scheduled to open for business.
The survey of nearly 1,000 people found that more than 85% had no idea how the new Affordable Care Act health plans will differ from one another.
“The survey results suggest that the Act’s pending impact to the health insurance market is still a mystery to the average American,” the report said.
Four Health Plan Types
The health reform law creates four health insurance plan types that are referred to as the “metal plans” (each one is named after a different type of metal).
All health policies sold through the Marketplaces must include a basic benefits package, called Essential Health Benefits that include coverage for services such as outpatient and emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care and oral and vision care for children, among other things.
The single difference among the four plan types is the percentage of medical expenses each pays. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Bronze – The insurer covers 60% of medical expenses (you pay the remaining 40%)
- Silver – 70% of costs are covered
- Gold – 80% of costs are paid by the insurer
- Platinum – 90% is covered.
Individuals must carry a bronze-level plan or higher in order to meet minimum requirements for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Only 4% of those polled in the Health Pocket survey correctly identified the differences among the various plans as the percentage of medical costs paid by insurance.
The Marketplaces are scheduled to open around the country in October. As I’ve discussed before, previous polls have shown that the majority of people who will be newly eligible in 2014 for insurance coverage because of the law don’t know a thing about the new marketplaces. Now we know not much is understood about the plans that will be sold on them either.
What questions do you have about the kind of health insurance that will be available to you? Ask your questions in the comment section and look for an answer in upcoming posts.