Making Insurance Data Transparent and Available
By Todd Park, HHS Chief Technology Officer
When we first launched HealthCare.gov last July, we said that it’s a website designed to help you take control of your health care – by putting the power of information at your fingertips. You can learn about your new rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act, and for the first time you can search a nationwide inventory of public and private health insurance options to find coverage that may be right for you, utilizing HealthCare.gov’s Insurance Finder.
Advancing transparency in the health insurance marketplace is a central goal of the Affordable Care Act. Today we are releasing a set of data files containing the current inventory of private insurance plans listed in HealthCare.gov to allow researchers, reporters, and others to use the information to advance consumer understanding of insurance.
Since July 2010, HealthCare.gov’s Insurance Finder has been providing consumers and small businesses with information about insurance plans available in your zip code. Now, large amounts of data underlying the Insurance Finder will be available in downloadable files. You can view the data here.
This data has been collected from issuers of individual and small group insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data files we are releasing contain basic information about the issuers (such as their website and contact information) and basic information on the products they have approval to sell within a state (including the type of product and whether that product is currently for sale). The files also contain data on specific health insurance plans (variants of each insurance product that have been made available), including the benefit and cost-sharing structure of each plan sold.
By releasing this data in the form of downloadable files, we’re enabling the public to more fully understand the current health insurance marketplace and opening the door to innovative uses of the data. For example, a researcher could use this information to put together a picture of benefit and cost-sharing options by region or state, in order to better understand what insurance choices are available to consumers by location. We very much look forward to seeing how this open data gets utilized by innovators across the country!