All free, NCQA's report card page features a number of helpful tools that consumers can use to learn more about health insurance in general and health insurance plans specifically.' Their Health Plan Report Card is updated every 15 months and has been integral to the U.S. News & World Report's Best Health Plans and now will become part of Consumer Reports' health plan ranking as well.' Their resources include America's Best Health Plans, Physician and Hospital Quality rankings (also updated every 15 months) and a Recognition Directory that allows you to find NCQA-Recognized clinicians.
The government-run website HealthCare.gov (http://www.healthcare.gov/index.html) is also a user-friendly resource for health insurance information.' The site allows you to search for plans by state or by status (e.g. families with children, individuals, people with disabilities, seniors) to best suit your needs.' Their glossary of terms can also be helpful in sorting out insurance terminology, such as premium, deductible and coinsurance.
If you're considering taking advantage of this year's open enrollment ' and even if you're not ' these tools can be helpful in understanding potential changes to your existing plan.' Michelle Andrews of Kaiser Health News explains the five biggest changes you may find this fall.' For example, you might find you're paying more for dependents, including spouses if they could obtain insurance through their own jobs.' This is particularly relevant for parents who are considering adding an adult son or daughter to their insurance.
As Dr. Liu says, "This isn't auto insurance.' This is your health.' You want the best.' Choose wisely'"
By Goldie Pyka