The process of finding proper health insurance and dealing with potential claims can be a daunting task for many employees. However, some employees do not realize that there are numerous resources available to help evaluate, purchase and manage an individual health insurance policy. We have compiled the top 5 resources you can use in addition to clarifyinghealth.com for health insurance information. These sources are designed to provide you with unbiased information that is meant to educate and promote greater health insurance understanding among consumers.
1. Health Insurance Agents
Your health insurance agent is a good resource as he or she is a licensed professional who should understand all of the coverages being presented to you. You can check your agents’ license with the State Department of Insurance (DOI, see #2) to determine if he or she is in good standing. A licensed health insurance agent is required to meet ongoing continuing education requirements set by the state to ensure he or she is up to date with the constantly changing health insurance marketplace. The only potential conflict with an agent is the fact that they are typically compensated based on commissions earned from the placement of your business. This can be perceived as a conflict.
2. Department of Insurance
Insurance is not regulated at a federal level, but rather a state level. Consequently, there is a separate department of insurance in each state. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners provides a good map of the country with a link to each state’s insurance department website. In addition to regulatory matters, the department of insurance often provides valuable information for consumers, explaining the health insurance industry. Consumers can look to the department of insurance both when sourcing coverage as well as dealing with any claims issues. The agencies regulate health insurance companies and insurance brokers and take disciplinary action on behalf of consumers if necessary.
A leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. Kaiser is a non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the U.S., as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. Unlike grant-making foundations, Kaiser develops and runs its own research and communications programs, sometimes in partnership with other non-profit research organizations or major media companies. KFF.org serves as a non-partisan source of facts, information, and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public. Its product is information, always provided free of charge — from the most sophisticated policy research, to basic facts and numbers, to information young people can use to improve their health or elderly people can use to understand their Medicare benefits. The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.
Statehealthfacts.org is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data for all 50 states. Statehealthfacts.org provides data on more than 700 health topics, including health care reform (this is one of my favorite informational websites on any topic).
5. National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
The NAIC is an organization consisting of the insurance commissioners from all 50 states. The NAIC works to set policy and standards for the health insurance industry and to serve as a resource for consumers. The NAIC website is another source of health insurance information for the average consumer.
What other resources would you add to this list?