Healthcare consumers seem to be increasing their savvy about the new state insurance exchanges implemented under the Affordable Care Act. The National Health Council (NHC) has just released information that ranks the top 10 states where healthcare consumers are doing their homework to determine which plans under the exchanges offer the best value, and are using online tools to better understand the available programs.

States ranked in the new report were qualified by the degree to which they used a free, online calculator and health plan resources at According to a recent NHC media release, the states where healthcare consumers used these resource most are:

1. California

2. Texas

3. Florida

4. New York

5. Virginia

6. Illinois

7. Pennsylvania

8. Maryland

9. Ohio

10. Georgia

The NHC describes the calculator as a unique web-based tool where consumers can enter their personal health usage information to understand how their total health costs will very, depending on the plans sold in their state. Personal health data used by the calculator includes an individual’s estimated number of doctor/specialist visits, hospital stays, and surgeries, and their prescription medications—both generics and brand drugs. Total health costs include out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

The calculator is based on 2015 exchange plan designs and includes tax credits and cost-sharing reduction information that were created to make coverage more affordable. The calculator illustrates how selection of a health plan can affect out-of-pocket costs and aims to help healthcare consumers more fully understand their options in the health insurance marketplace.

State rankings are based on visitors to the website between January 1 and December 31, 2014.

[Source: National Health Council]