Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Health reform makes shopping for a health plan easier

When shopping for health insurance, most people base their decision on the plan's monthly premium. But there are a lot of additional costs to consider: How much is the deductible? What will you pay out-of-pocket for a doctor visit? How about an ER visit? Hard to know. And it's even harder to compare these costs between plans.

But help is on the way. A new regulation under health reform is forcing health insurers to use a standard form to show potential customers the true costs of each plan. You'll also get a copy of this form each time your health plan renews - showing you any changes in costs.

Aside from the plan's average premium, the new form will include cost for a primary care visit, medications, tests, surgeries and for ER visits. Also, it'll give three coverage examples so people can better understand what they'll likely pay for having a baby, receiving cancer treatment, or managing diabetes.

The new regulation is out for public comment now and takes effect on March 23, 2012. Want to weigh in?