The National Health Council (NHC) today launched a personalized, online, interactive calculator, powered by Avalere analytics, to assist patients shopping for coverage on exchanges predict their out-of-pocket costs. Putting Patients First® combines information on tax credits, cost-sharing subsidies, and plan benefit designs to help consumers anticipate their full range of potential healthcare expenses. Subsidies, including both tax credits and cost sharing reductions, are available to consumers based on income to make coverage more affordable.
“In 2014, most consumers purchased Bronze and Silver plans. While lower metal level products will be cost-effective for some enrollees, people with chronic health needs may benefit from paying more in premiums in exchange for lower deductibles and out-of-pocket caps,” said Elizabeth Carpenter, director at Avalere Health.
Updated to reflect 2015 plan designs, as well as tax credit and cost sharing reduction information, PuttingPatientsFirst.net goes beyond federal and state marketplace websites to offer a new tool to marketplace shoppers. In particular, the new site helps patients sort through the critical tradeoff between premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
“Improved shopping tools are crucial to help consumers make informed choices based on more than just premiums,” said Kelly Brantley, senior manager at Avalere Health. “Patients with chronic diseases need to be able to predict their health care costs in various plans to select coverage that best meets their needs.”
In addition to the out-of-pocket calculator, PuttingPatientsFirst.net includes a set of patient examples to explore out-of-pocket cost scenarios, a library of Affordable Care Act-related resources created by patient organizations, and a story bank encouraging patients to share their exchange experiences. Further updates will be released in early 2015.