The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has launched a new website that provides a simple comparison of costs and benefits for individual health insurance coverage from major providers.
The charts, which show each company’s lowest annual deductible, are sorted by county and gender and assume the person is 40 and relatively healthy. The site notes that the comparisons do not constitute quotes or guarantees, and PID spokeswoman Rosanne Placey said this is the first time the department has offered the comparison for health insurance.
“We used to have a shopping guide for auto insurance” that was similar, Placey said, explaining that the information is designed to help someone begin the shopping process.
A news release describes the site as designed to help consumers learn the basics about health insurance; understand their health insurance needs and options; answer health insurance questions, file a complaint or appeal a denied medical claim; and provide easy-to-understand, educational health insurance information and resources. The site has a section and some resource kits specifically for small-business owners.
“Everyone has different needs and understanding health insurance can be confusing,” PID Commissioner Michael Consedine said in the release. “We want to provide Pennsylvanians with accurate information they can trust to help them make decisions about health insurance that meets their needs and their budgets.”
The site does not directly address the many health insurance changes that will be unfolding in coming months, although a search for “news” does turn up a mention. Placey said the site “reflects the here and now.”
“We get a lot of questions that we thought this site could actually answer for folks,” she said, explaining that PID designed the site to answer those questions.
Asked if the site would interface with the federally facilitated health insurance exchange due to become functional this fall, Placey said she didn’t think those decisions had been made yet but it could potentially serve as a platform.