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Even experts can find health insurance exchanges confusing

Health Care Reform and Policy
by Steve Bryson
States continue to grapple with changing health insurance market
States continue to grapple with changing health insurance market

It's getting to be that time of year, when the federal health insurance exchange websites have open enrollment for consumers to sign up for and change their health insurance coverage for the coming year. However, experts continue to criticize these sites for being a little too confusing when it comes to helping people find the plans that will work best for them and their unique financial and medical situations.

Depending upon a number of conditions - ranging from where they live to their financial situations - consumers may have a wide variety of health insurance plan choices available to them this fall, according to a report from the New York Times. However, it seems that having so much choice might, in some ways, end up being a bit of an issue for them because they may not have the expertise to sift through so many options and find the one that's just right.

One of the biggest reasons for this is that people may have many things to consider when they think about the price of their coverage specifically, but may not realize or think about that, the report said. There is the overall price to consider, of course, but beyond that there are issues such as co-pays and deductibles, what's covered fully and what isn't, that can end up having a huge impact on overall cost but which might not be considered, or at least easily deciphered, even by industry experts.

Other confusing issues
Polls routinely show that when it comes to even basic health care concepts, many consumers don't know what all the necessary terms mean, and that a lack of understanding might have a major impact on their health spending overall as well, the report said. When insurance coverage gets into the idea of paying different amounts for co-pays on visits to a primary care physician, for example, versus that of a specialist, it's easy to see where someone with a limited background might end up falling behind when it comes to understanding everything about the policies for which they are signing up.

For these reasons, it might be wise for health insurers to do more to help people comprehend the ins and outs of their coverage, so that they can make more informed decisions going forward. If people are stuck in stasis because of the options they face and the lack of understanding they may have, additional information could go a long way toward helping them making decisions.



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