Supporting Informed Decision-Making in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Prepared for the National Partnership for Women and Families

In a report prepared for the National Partnership for Women and Families, Manatt Health reveals that, during the third open enrollment period, the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act added tools to help consumers make informed decisions about which health plans to choose. The study finds that it is becoming easier for consumers to evaluate the cost of health insurance plans. More marketplace websites are providing integrated provider and prescription drug directories that help consumers identify the plans that best meet their specific healthcare needs.

The new report looks at the tools that were available during the third open enrollment period to consumers who were window shopping on HealthCare.gov, which serves as the marketplace website in 38 states, and on the 13 state-based marketplace websites. Manatt Health conducted an in-depth analysis of HealthCare.gov and all state-based marketplace websites, supplemented by six focus groups in five states with consumers who had shopped on marketplace websites. The report builds on the team's 2015 analysis of the features available on marketplace websites during the second open enrollment period.

The report looks at how well the marketplace is providing consumers with key information about available health plans. The report also assesses new tools and promising practices that marketplace websites are employing to enhance the consumer browsing experience, noting recommendations for improvement.

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