HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today announced a new website, https://pa.checkbookhealth.org, aimed at helping consumers explore options available when shopping for health insurance. The website, which was developed and hosted through a partnership with Consumers' Checkbook, allows consumers to compare plans available on and off the federal health insurance marketplace at www.Healthcare.gov.
"Shopping for health insurance and keeping track of what each plan offers can be confusing and, at times, overwhelming," said Commissioner Miller. "Using this plan comparison tool helps consumers get a holistic view of the details of plans and how their differences may impact costs and access to care."
The plan comparison tool available at https://pa.checkbookhealth.org allows consumers to compare plans available in their area based on the following factors:
- Estimate of average monthly and yearly total cost based on an actuarial estimate of premium and out-of-pocket costs for a consumer with the same family size, ages, health status, and other characteristics, which also factors in the potential for subsidies to help pay costs. 78 percent of Pennsylvanians shopping on the marketplace in 2016 received subsidies;
- Cost of plan in a high-use year, which estimates out-of-pocket costs if the consumer needs to make frequent use of the plan and the likelihood of that occurring based on health status and other characteristics disclosed;
- Overall quality of plan based on feedback from plan members. Consumers can personalize this rating to adjust weights of certain categories such as quality of doctors, ability to access care, and customer service;
- Doctor availability, which allows consumers to enter the names of their physicians to see which are in-network for each plan;
- Formulary availability, which allows consumers to enter prescription drugs that they take to check if they are covered in a plan's formulary.
The website features information for plans available both on-exchange at www.Healthcare.gov and off-exchange directly through companies. This feature will be particularly useful for people who don't qualify for subsidies to reduce their costs. By using this new website, they can easily find out if a lower-cost plan is available to them off-exchange. Consumers are also able to narrow their choices to compare certain options side by side.
"Choosing the best plan for you and your family is extremely important, and this website makes it easy to understand the costs and details of plans before making a selection," said Commissioner Miller. "As open enrollment for 2017 health insurance coverage continues, I hope Pennsylvania consumers make good use of this tool to help find the best plan for their needs and potentially save money."
Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance coverage continues through January 31, 2017. Coverage purchased on or before December 15 will take effect January 1.
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department encourages all Pennsylvanians who need health insurance to enroll in coverage. While changes may be coming to the existing health care system, there is currently no plan in place and Commissioner Miller strongly recommends that Pennsylvanians protect their and their family's health by enrolling in a health insurance plan for 2017.
Additional information on health insurance options in Pennsylvania and additional resources related to shopping for health insurance may be found here. If you require in-person assistance, a list of licensed agents and navigators in your area can be found here.
For more information on Consumers' Checkbook, visit www.Checkbook.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Fogarty, 717-787-3289
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance