Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Comparing Insurance Costs and Options--And Comparing Hospitals

Since I last wrote about the Healthcare.gov page in July, when it was brand new, features have been added that allow you to see different health care options for your situation.  One new feature is a comparison of the quality of health care facilities (hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care agencies) within a geographic area.  Just choose the type of facilities you want compared, put in your zip code, and it shows you various criteria on quality.

Another possibilityfor comparing health plans is the Health Sherpa. Www.thehealthsherpa.com This site, set up by some California techies, canhelp you find a plan when the federal site is down.
A feature has been added to find sources of health insurance and affordable health care.  Under "find insurance options," you can answer a few questions about your area, age, dependents (they don't ask for identification, just the basic info), and they lay out some options for you: private insurance for individuals, insurance through work, high risk pools, medicaid, or "finding care you can afford" (translation: public health care facilities,)  These include public clinics, HIV clinics, and Hill-Burton obligated facilities (hospitals that provide low-cost care for the indigent).  Under "health insurance plans for individuals and families," it will lay out all the options, plus some ways to narrow down your options (by deductible, by coverage options, by premium ranges, etc.)  They take great pains to note that the estimates are in fact only that, and that you may be charged more, but at least you have something to go on.

However, they left out the drug prescription component for the underinsured and noninsured.  Try this site and this site to cover your options on finding affordable drugs.

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