When was the last time your employer offered you 132 different insurance plans during open enrollment?
If you live in a large urban area, chances are you have over 100 insurance plans to evaluate on the ACA Market Place. There are lots of places that are offering less than 20 plans. That's still a lot more choice than people get from the average large employer during open enrollment, which usually gives 3-4 choices maximum and an offer of dental and vision supplemental plans. I have friends working for small employers who have a choice of take it or leave it. Some with 2 choices.
If you've spent the last 10 years uninsured, the Marketplace options is overwhelming and that's a Good Thing. If you've been on junk insurance for several years, the expanded coverages look like Christmas (also, a Good Thing). It is ludicrous to expect anyone, glitchy website aside, to choose a plan in the hour 1/2 the web site limits you to making this decision. You can "save" plans, but you really have to make screenshots to remember what you are seeing. I called 800-318-2596 and was told I'd be receiving a paper summary the first week of November. You can't keep it all in your head. Wow, my family is going from one, least lousy choice to over 100 decent choices and over 20 good fits for us in what, an hour 1/2? You want me to pick one plan out of 132 in 90 minutes? Not happening.
Yep, you get an hour 1/2 to sort through 132 plans. That's after the application process. I could go through the various dopey things the Healthcare.gov site does that is just stupid, but others have done that already. Ok, one experience was so aggravating I have to tell you about it. After I had entered the demographic, economic and citizenship information, saved it and was ready to move onto the plan selection; the screen showed an empty table with a message stating no information was available. Concerned, I went back to the summary page to make sure the data was there. It was there, but the program wouldn't allow me to jump forward to plan selection. It forced me to revisit every data point again in what seemed like super slo mo. Yes, indeed, stupid. So slow, I had time to pen President Obama a short note on the subject between clicks. We completed the application process around October 20th. It Was Worth The Time To Get To The Plan Selection. I have a fantastic range of choices.
No one gives their employees as much choice as the ACA gave my family. Who gets 132 plans total? I'm delighted at the choices available to me and my family. The choices are predominantly HMOs, which I'm not going to select, but there are 17 PPOs to sort into good, bad and this is the one. There are no Point of Service Plans, but it looks like 4 of the PPO's are actually POS plans (that's just semantics). Premiums range from $216 per month to $1,300 per month. Deductibles range from $0 to $12,700. Out-of-Pocket Caps range from $0 (really zero) to $12,700. Coinsurance and Copays range from $0 per encounter to 50% coinsurance. Doctor choice is all over the place. Drug formularies are equally diverse.
Newsers and Republican lawmakers have rocks in their head if they really thought people with over 100 plans to choose from were going to sit down and 45 minutes later were going to be enrolled in a plan. When I was employed by a large company, I'd typically take 2 weeks to decide what to do, mostly because it would take that long to get my husband to sit down and discuss how much health care we really need. It took a while to decide how much deductible is too much and what co-pay/coinsurance levels would be right for us. We spent an hour last night going through the choices and we're still not sure which way to go, but I have narrowed it down to 5 plans.
The media and Congress has tunnel vision formed by their experiences with employer based open enrollment. They can't relate to the uninsured and under-insured. They've had their health care covered for years. Our 24/7 news cycle with 15 second sound bites and demands for instant reaction and gratification are solely focused on the glitches. Bull$hit glitches. Reporters have to say something, so the best thing to do is grab a whiny Republican poor loser to rail against a website and skip over the awesome amount of choice some of us are facing. Good decisions take time. I've got a month before I need to knuckle down and finalize my choices and I'm going to take it.
2:59 PM PT: Thanks for the rescue. I was wondering why I kept getting a comment or two now and then. I have a meeting and will check back again in an hour or so.