From now on, health insurers will have to provide us with information in plain English, and in no more than four pages, about what their policies cover and how much we’ll have to pay out of our own pockets when we get sick. And they’ll have to provide it in a standard format that will enable us to make apples-to-apples comparisons among health plans. Click here to see an example of what the plan descriptions must now look like.Insurers lost, on that one. When the health insurance exchanges get started up, those finding insurance on the exchanges will also have the benefit of this simpler, more transparent information for purposes of shopping around. That's today's really good health insurance news. Here's the bad, via Ezra Klein.
As you can imagine, insurers fought hard to kill that part of the law. That’s because they’ve profited for years by using legalese and gobbledygook in describing their policies, and also by purposely withholding information we really need to make informed coverage decisions.
Insurance premium growth has wiped out the last decade of wage growth. Overall, that middle-income family saw its income go up by $23,000, from $76,000 in 1999 to $99,000 in 2009 — not too bad. But rising health-care costs in the form of increased insurance premiums and co-pays, ate up nearly all of that. Factor in that spending, as a recent Health Affairs article did, and the average family only had $95 a month more in available income than it did a decade ago.At least now you'll know where that money is going. The Affordable Care Act has done some great things, but there's a lot yet to be done to start really bringing down the cost health care in America, and with it the cost of insurance.