Based on comments and private emails, I think about 60 percent of you hate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 10 percent of you love it, and 30 percent just want to get through the day.
Even from the perspective of someone who feels a moderate level of hate for PPACA, I think that one of the nice things about the PPACA public health insurance exchange system and the PPACA “metal level” product classification system is that it makes having a conversation about what’s going on in the health insurance market a lot easier.
Whatever the many obvious and suspected faults with the federal government’s exchange “qualified health plan” application activity data, at least the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is giving me some numbers to write about.
EHealth Inc. (Nasdaq:EHTH), a Web broker, posted a fourth-quarter off-exchange health insurance price report based on its own sales in February.
Organizations like Mark Farrah Associates publish great commercial market enrollment and market share data after the quarter is over.
But HHS is posting a lot more data than I could normally get from the consulting firms.
What I’ve found, however, is that, even with the PPACA “essential health benefits” package rules and some states’ efforts to standardize plan design, figuring out what individual and small-group plans actually cover is still very difficult.
Example: A colleague wanted to write about mental health benefits a few months ago. I thought, “OK, that’s easy,” then scrounged around on website after website and realized I had no idea where to go to get even basic mental health benefits coverage details in any kind of format that I could figure out how to use.