De-Mystifying Healthcare Plan Comparison

While shopping for health insurance for my family in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, I found it very difficult to compare plans. While the New York state exchange and Healthcare.gov made it easy for me to compare plans' deductibles, premiums, coinsurance, etc., they miss the key point; I want to know how much I might spend out of pocket in a variety of different medical expenses. What if I break my arm? Need back surgery? Dialysis? There is no easy way to tell how much I will spend out of pocket for these different medical bills just by looking at the numbers on the exchange.

This site attempts to provide a clear comparison of how much you will pay out of pocket for a variety of medical costs and present the results in a clear visual manner. Are you young and want to protect against catastrophic expenses? Or middle age and want to be covered for more frequent and expensive medical care? Do you know how much medical procedures you might need in your area cost? This site will help you select the right plan for you.

Do you shop for insurance on Healthcare.gov?

Enter your zip code and age then select a plan type. Hit search and this will bring up the federally advertised plans in your area. You can select up to 3 of these and compare them.

Are you a resident of a state that has its own healthcare exchange?

Log onto the exchange and get the premium, deductible, maximum out of pocket, coinsurance (cost sharing) and how much HSA dollars are available for several plans and enter them in the Plan Comparison.

Once you have either selected plans from the federal exchange or entered your own into the Plan Comparison, hit Refresh to chart them. This chart shows how much you will pay out of pocket (Y axis) for different medical expenses (X axis). This incorporates tax deductions, so the amounts reflect what you will pay after filing federal taxes.

Then you can add medical expenses by name to the X-axis by Decorating the Chart. You can get the average medical expenses by age and gender, or choose from 100+ common medical procedures priced by your ZIP code. These costs are what medicare is billed, but they give at least a ballpark estimate of what you might be billed at your local hospital.

Ready? GO!