Is there anyone who can help me determine my best health insurance option?

Personal Finance, Creating Healthy Communities July 15, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Each state will have consumer helpers available to assist individuals with health insurance decision-making. Find these helpers at Healthcare.gov the official site which provides accurate information to guide you through health insurance decision-making, and which also connects you to the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state.

Beware of commercial insurance industry professionals offering "free advice" or "assistance;" their efforts may be just a ploy to get you to buy their company's policy regardless of other options that may meet your needs more completely, or at a lower cost. Also beware of scams. If someone calls you claiming to represent a government organization and tries to offer you an “Obamacare card” or threatens you in some way unless you buy insurance, do not continue the call. Consumer advocates and government officials are warning Americans of the realities of scam artists trying to steal credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, financial and other personal information.

Helpers trained according to Federal standards and guaranteed not to be commercially biased will be known by these titles:

Health Navigators will provide information on health coverage options, answer questions, and help you enroll in a plan.  They will be available in every state and will not have biases toward or ties with any insurance companies.  They will complete a standard training and be licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

In-Person Assistors (IPAs) will provide a similar service to the Health Navigators, but will be present only in states that are served by a state-run marketplace or a joint federal-state marketplace.

Certified Application Counselors (CACs) may be provided by local organizations in some communities to address specific needs; they will not receive federal funding, but will receive high-quality training.

Health Navigators and IPAs will begin working with consumers on October 1, 2013.  As that date approaches, this article on How to Get Help Enrolling in the Marketplace will provide details on sources of help in your area.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.