Friday, April 5, 2013

Many Americans fail to grasp health care reform

A survey done for InsuranceQuotes.com by Princeton Survey Research Association International found that 90 percent of Americans don’t know when they’ll be able to start shopping for insurance through the exchanges, and only 10 percent say they’re very knowledgeable about the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

But that information should get out soon because state and federal agencies will use “aggressive” communications campaigns to publicize open-enrollment dates and other significant information. The campaigns likely will include print ads, social media initiatives, TV commercials, billboards and community outreach, she says.

But the health care reform law is complicated, and Amy Bach, executive director of the nonprofit consumer group United Policyholders says consumers who put off learning more about their options might end up pressed to make an important decision in a short time.

To avoid being in that position, consumers might want to consider these four tips for shopping under the new system:

Learn about the law. If your knowledge of the health care reform law is shaky, there’s still time to learn. Consumers can start by visiting healthcare.gov.

Start shopping early. If you don’t have health insurance, or if you bought individual insurance but want to switch plans, you’ll need to go shopping.

Be detail-oriented. Consumers should find out exactly what different plans cover and should carefully add up costs, including deductibles and co-pays, before deciding which plan is the best fit.

Choose carefully. Consumers should get help from several sources when trying to decide on a health plan, Bach says. For example, she recommends consumers talk to an experienced health insurance broker. Insurance Quotes

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