Executive Order Revives Standardized ACA Exchange Plans

In President Joe Biden’s new executive order aimed at promoting competition in the American economy, he directs HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to “implement standardized options in the national Health Insurance Marketplace” in a bid to “ensure that Americans can choose health insurance plans that meet their needs and compare plan offerings.”

Standardized plans on the federally run health insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov, are not a new concept: They were initially introduced during the Obama administration before being rolled back by the Trump administration. And several states that run their own exchanges currently have some form of standardized plans. But industry experts tell AIS Health that a move to standardize plans at the federal level will only work this time around if it’s done with several key principles in mind.

“Advocates of standardized plans will highlight goals of making plans simpler to use and putting key [health care services] before deductibles, things like that,” says Myra Simon, a principal at Avalere Health. “How standardized plans are implemented is going to affect to whether they contribute to those goals or not.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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