The federally facilitated health insurance marketplace is encouraging insurers to offer standardized benefit designs in 2017. In doing so, the FFM is following the path of several state based marketplaces (SBMs) that require insurers to offer standardized health plans. Through an analysis of policy guidance, marketplace websites, and interviews with key stakeholders, this paper explores the experiences of SBMs that have required participating insurers to offer standardized plans. The authors find that although the primary goal of health plan standardization is to facilitate “apples-to-apples” plan comparisons, states’ policy choices and website interfaces have hindered achievement of that goal.
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