HHS to Provide Tools to Help Consumers Avoid Unexpected Health Insurance Costs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of an out-of-pocket cost calculator and a new requirement to update monthly qualified health plan (QHP) provider directories, strategies to assist consumers select plans best suited for their needs. According to the New York Times, the out-of-pocket cost calculator will enable consumers to consider not just premium costs and subsidies, but also the costs of co-payments and deductibles when selecting a health insurance plan. Additionally, the Administration will require QHP issuers to update provider directories at least once a month in an electronic format, allowing software developers to create tools that will help consumers select a plan based on provider network. Insurers who fail to update directories will face a fine of up to $100 a day for each person adversely affected.