America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade association for payers, is promoting new services to health consumers.

AHIP at the start of its three-day Institute 2014 conference in Seattle announced a new lower-premium coverage option, guidelines to ensure continuity of care during transition periods, and greater transparency related to benefits and coverage options.

"We know that affordability, stability, and accessibility are top of mind for consumers when it comes to their healthcare," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni. "These solutions demonstrate health plans' ongoing efforts to advance these key priorities, and we intend to work with all stakeholders to provide consumers with greater peace of mind in the new marketplace."

Health plans support the creation of a new, lower-premium catastrophic plan, offering consumers the option of coverage that has lower monthly payments but still provides the comfort of knowing that costs will be limited in the event of a serious illness or injury.

For consumers who have a course of treatment underway for a serious or terminal illness when they choose to change health plans and their current provider is not included in their new network, AHIP supports providing these individuals with continuity of care during a transition period in certain circumstances. The organization also supports providing continuity of prescription medication, as medically necessary, when enrollees change plans in specific instances.

AHIP also calls for greater transparency of plan networks and promotion of easy-to- use transparency tools. Many health plans already offer members access to personalized price information to help them select a provider, learn about a procedure, and estimate their out-of-pocket costs.

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