If you haven’t already been to HealthCare.gov, I suggest you visit. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced the website as a way for consumers to shop for health insurance, and businesses are also using it to research group plan options for their employees.
HealthCare.gov includes information from hundreds of insurers about thousands of coverage plans in all 50 states. This tool can be especially useful for small businesses looking for cost and coverage estimates for small groups and options for in-network versus out-of-network benefits, deductibles and co-pays.
HHS launched the site about a year ago under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Users can submit basic information about the type of insurance coverage they need (for an individual or group of up to 50 employees) to generate a list of results with estimated costs and advanced filtering options.
What does this mean for brokers and payers? Consumers and business owners are hungry for information and they have the tools to start the research phase of the buying process on their own. However, as they move further down the sales funnel, they would benefit from the guidance of an experienced insurance professional who is knowledgeable about the available benefit options and able to provide more accurate pricing as well as a competitive network adequacy assessment.
So, have you been to HealthCare.gov? How do you think consumers and businesses will use it?