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Health Insurance Tips
WE CAN HELP — Our health care experts are working to provide you with the resources you need to make the most of new health care consumer protections and tools.
Get The Best Deal On Health Insurance
Looking for health coverage? The Health Insurance Marketplace could save you time and money.
1. Check out options at the Health Insurance Marketplace. The plans include coverage for doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions and more.
Toll free: (800)318-2596 TTY: (855) 889-4325
2. Find out about financial help that’s available. At the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can find out if you qualify for financial assistance to lower your costs.
3. Use the Health Insurance Marketplace to compare plans side-by-side. The new marketplace lists your options on one website, and shows what each plan covers.
4. Take advantage of expert help in-person, online, or by phone. Specially trained people are available in communities across the country to help you apply and understand your options. Find them at LocalHelp.healthcare.gov.
5. Don’t take no for an answer. For coverage starting January 2014, insurance companies can no longer deny you due to a pre-existing condition.
6. Keep in touch. Check for updates on our website, and tell us about your experience. We want to hear what you think so we can spot trends and advocate for ongoing improvements. Contact us.
HEALTH CARE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
If you have coverage, you already have protections under the health care law, such as:
- Children and young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26
- Free preventive care, including check-ups and vaccinations
- Insurance companies can’t set a lifetime cap on what they’ll pay if you get sick
- Rebates if your insurance company spends less than 80% of premiums on care
Plus, new protections for coverage effective January 1, 2014 include:
- Insurers can’t deny anyone coverage for having a “pre-existing condition”
- No more annual caps on what your insurer will pay if you get sick
- Insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for coverage
People living in the United States have access to some of the best medical care in the world, from life-saving drugs to cutting-edge surgical techniques. But our system is deeply flawed, with spiraling costs forcing many Americans to spend more on care and often receiving poor quality care for all the extra money spent.
While many Americans struggle to afford their prescription drugs, NCPIRG Education Fund’s survey of retail prices of commonly-prescribed medications found patients can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in some cases by shopping around at pharmacies within their communities.
King Bio Inc. issued the second significant voluntary recall since late July of their homeopathic drugs on Wednesday. Safety concerns over homeopathic drugs extend beyond King Bio as over the past several years, the FDA has issued recalls to several companies for a variety of health products from zinc-containing intranasal medicine to asthma drugs with toxic ingredients.
When it comes to health care, there are few magic-bullet solutions for the many problems consumers face in the marketplace: insurers don’t compete for their business, leading to higher prices and lower quality. Important information about coverage is buried in the fine print, making it hard to know what’s really covered or which plan is right. And costs are continuing their unsustainable rise.
Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and other states should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by consumer group NCPIRG. Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage. Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014. The report closely examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.
Tools & Resources
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