Help with open enrollment

December 4, 2011 in Health Insurance

I’ve been thinking about Sarah (sitting at the kitchen table?), pouring through insurance documents as she tries to decide whether a cheaper tiered insurance plan would work for her family.

Sarah – I’m going to get you more information about how insurers tier docs, but your post also made me wonder what tools are out there to help people choose insurance plans. I sent out a Tweet and got two suggestions. If anyone wants to test these options and write a review – please do!

Here’s one – Cake Health has a new feature to help consumers during open enrollment:
Cake Health Open Enrollment explainer

And Jellyvision offers an online benefits counselor (recommended by @WellWork).
The Jellyvision Benefits Counselor

Sarah – I don’t see any reference in these videos to tiered plans. The videos could probably be adapted, but your question is really…how do the insurers decide which tier to put doctors in and why does a doctor’s rating vary from one insurance plan to the next? More on that soon.

3 responses to Help with open enrollment

  1. Thanks for the info, Martha. I wanted to clarify what I said (as @wellwork) about JellyVision. I mentioned JellyVision in response to your tweet about apps that explain open enrollment options, noting that it was not a mobile app. In fact, it’s not an app at all and does not purport (as far as I know — I have no affiliation with the JellyVision) to be a resource to the general public. JellyVision develops extraordinarily useful, engaging, and well-received online counselors, when contracted by an insurer or employer. It takes into consideration your personal circumstances, your tolerance for risk, and the specific coverage options that are available to you. I’m not aware of any way this could be made available to the public in such a customized manner, because the range of coverage options would be too wide. But, if nothing else, it demonstrates what’s possible. Good employers and insurers will make tools like this available to their employees (or members).

    To expect average people — even well-educated consumers — to sort out health care coverage options on their own just isn’t realistic. It’s too complicated, and information about the costs and quality of care is too elusive.

  2. Got it Bob – thanks for the clarification.

  3. Hello Martha,

    Alex Muehl here — I work with The Jellyvision Lab. Bob is right that today, the Jellyvision Benefits Counselor, or ALEX, is made available primarily through employers. Employees use ALEX to help understand their benefit options and see which plan might be the best fit for their needs. Employees have found the tool to be helpful in providing a better understanding of benefits, including some of the newer plan designs out there (think CDHPs). For more info and some ALEX videos, I would encourage you to check out http://www.meetalex.com.

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