State Seeks Public Comment on Future Health Plans

Shopping for health insurance will be easier in 2014

September 19, 2012 -- Starting in January 2014, some consumers will find it easier to shop for health insurance because insurance companies selling small employer and individual plans must offer at least some plans that are identical. In other words, the benefits and the buyer’s share of costs will be the same with Company A as Company B.  
The Oregon Insurance Division is seeking public input as it designs these identical, or standardized, plans. Plan designs under consideration can be found here:  
How to submit comments  
Send written comments to [email protected] by noon Sept. 24.  
Testify at an advisory committee meeting that starts at 2 p.m. Sept. 26 in Room 260 of the Labor and Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, Salem.  
Why health insurance plans will be easier to compare in 2014
Federal health reform requires that all individual and small group plans be labeled bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. The difference among the levels is how much of your medical costs the insurer pays. For example, under a “bronze” plan, the insurer pays 60  percent of medical costs while the person covered under the plan pays 40 percent through cost sharing such as deductibles and co-pays. The metal level plans, however, can vary significantly in how the cost sharing is applied.  
To make it even easier for consumers to compare plans, Oregon is designing standard bronze, silver, and gold plans that will have identical cost sharing across insurance companies. That is, the plans will have the same deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums.  
Insurers will submit proposed rates to the Insurance Division in spring 2013, so pricing will not be known until that time. Plans will be effective Jan. 1, 2014.

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