The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) released a report Monday reviewing users' experience with Healthcare.gov and each of the 12 state-based exchanges in 2018. Their study found that liberal states are among the worst at running their Obamacare exchanges.
The report graded the exchange websites with letter grades of A-F for seven factors: access to detailed plan information, an out-of-pocket cost calculator, integrated provider directory and drug directory tools, a customized window shopping tool, comparative plan display page, and accurate plan information.
Massachusetts, New York, Idaho, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, and Connecticut all received a D or F and “the average exchange website scored 71 out of a possible 100” on the report’s composite index.
According to CAHC, “the more ‘blue’ the state, the lower the score, on average.”
“Six of the eight exchanges with the lowest scores are in states where liberals greatly outnumber conservatives, according to a Gallup poll,” the report noted, “the poor performance of states inclined to regard the ACA less critically may reflect weak legislative oversight.”
Healthcare.gov ranked fourth overall on the group’s scorecard with a grade of 81 out of 100.
“While HealthCare.gov, the federally run website used in 38 states, has moved near the top of the public exchange class,” the study noted, “a majority of the 12 state-based exchanges still do not offer the three decision-support tools considered the gold standard of informed consumer choice: an out-of-pocket cost calculator, integrated provider directory, and integrated drug directory.”
CAHC president Joel White commented that “once again, too many state exchanges are providing substandard service to users.”
“While our findings show modest improvement from years past, it remains unacceptable that, in 2018, more progress has not been made,” he said. “Meanwhile, trouble persists for Healthcare.gov which, five years after its launch, will be taken offline for maintenance at various points throughout the open enrollment season, offering little to no recourse for affected consumers."
White argued that “it is time to say goodbye to the public exchange model and turn, instead, to the innovation and responsiveness of the private marketplace.”