New Mexico just released a road map of state based wrap-around subsidies and benefit enhancements for the ACA marketplace for the 2023 plan year. The state intends to significantly decrease premiums and cost-sharing with state funds. I’ll probably write more about this later as there are some fascinating research ideas embedded within the program design but I need to digest them.
However, there is one nugget that leaped out at me immediately. The state is relabeling Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) Silver plans so that they are distinctly named instead of confusingly named.
Turquoise Variant Actuarial Values
To simplify the choice landscape for consumers, the underlying metal tier for plans that offer robust out-of-pocket assistance will be replaced with a “Turquoise” label during the shopping experience. Turquoise variant names will correspond with specific AV requirements. The naming conventions will match the level of income-based out-of-pocket assistance offered to consumers, as shown in Table 3. The new “Turquoise” label will help consumers identify which plans qualify for the most robust out-of-pocket assistance.
I think this is going to be very helpful.
Right now, Silver plans are sometimes better than Gold and Platinum, and sometimes they are just better than Gold but other times they are worse than Gold. That is confusing as hell as it breaks the ability of people to learn by doing over time. Buying insurance is really tough in the best of circumstances and the ACA markets are not the best of circumstances. I think having a clear label that indicates that a plan is the highest actuarial value plan available to a particular household makes a lot of sense.
Now it is time to see if it actually changes decision-making.