If the snafus, setbacks and bad branding were not enough, now the sideline experts are showing up to criticize all aspects of how health coverage is being marketed under the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) market exchanges that opened this week (or at least tried to open) as part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In the New York Times, Alan Cohen, who helped found a private health insurance exchange, says the use of “medal levels” (gold, silver, bronze) are a “bad unintended consequence” of the new law.

“(According to Cohen), ‘Metal levels don’t standardize; in fact, they confuse. A silver plan is 70 percent of actuarial value, but for all intents and purposes, there are an infinite number of ways to get to 70 percent. One plan could have a $2,000 deductible, and everything else covered at 100 percent. Another plan could have a $500 deductible and cover 70 percent to a $3,000 maximum. Another plan could have no deductible at all but have a $1,000 deductible for prescription drugs. Personally I think it infantilizes people. People don’t need metal levels to know if something is good or bad.'”

Full story: “Why Labeling Health Plans Gold, Silver or Bronze Doesn’t Help” (NYTimes.com’s You’re the Boss Blog)

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