For guidance on selecting the best health insurance plan for yourself, your rights under the federal laws governing health plans and medical providers, and ways you can save money on health care expenses, look to the information provided in these websites.
Centers for Disease
Control & Prevention (CDC)
This official federal government website contains extensive information on a variety of health conditions and safety related issues. It is a great place to start if you are a traveler and have questions about the health situation in your destination and vaccination requirements. In addition, you can find information about emergency preparedness and current domestic outbreaks.
Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services administers the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs. Its website contains voluminous information and resources on these programs, as well as how the government is implementing the Affordable Care Act. You may also access a variety of publications and a glossary of medical acronyms.
Food & Drug
This federal agency's website has information on a wide range of subjects including the safety of medical devices, tobacco, food, vaccines, animal products and cosmetics, to name a few. If you click on the “Drugs” tab, you can get information on specific drugs and side effects as well as how to take and store drugs safely.
Find available public and private health insurance options quickly and easily on this new federal government website. Follow links to healthfinder.gov to receive health advice tailored for you and check out Hospital Compare to compare the quality of care at different hospitals. Videos explaining how to navigate through the site as well as summarizing the key provisions of the new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are available.
Health Insurance Resource Center
This site offers consumer information on medical coverage, insurance risk pools, and health reform legislation. You can get quotes on health insurance, look up the definition of health insurance industry terms in a glossary, and review state-specific guides on health coverage.
From the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute comes this website providing "A Consumer Guide for Getting and Keeping Health Insurance" for each state. Other guides include "Understanding Private Health Insurance" and "Options for Avoiding and Managing Medical Debt." Links take you to other sites offering "A Consumer's Guide to Handling Disputes with your Employer or Private Health Plan" and state-by-state guides on how to obtain copies of and amend your medical records.
Is a health savings account (HSA) a good choice for you? What is an HSA? How does it work? Questions to these and other questions can be found at this website. Calculators allow you to compare the cost of your current plan and an HSA plan, and estimate your potential tax savings with an HSA.
This consumer-friendly website contains articles covering a wide range of health insurance topics, from picking a health insurance plan and cutting your health care costs, to federal and state laws affecting your medical coverage.
Insurance Information Institute
The mission of the Insurance Information Institute is to improve the public's understanding of insurance. Their website provides basic information on what health insurance does and how it works. The site offers guidance on buying health care insurance and also includes handy definitions to common health insurance terminology.
Kaiser Health News
Visit this website to find comprehensive and up-to-date information on health care policy issues and developments at the federal and state levels, as well as the delivery of health care in the marketplace. This news site does a good job of explaining what the passing of health reform legislation means for consumers, as well as offering links to health policy bloggers and a glossary of important terms in health care policy.
Leapfrog Group for Patient Safety
Consumers can compare hospitals by reviewing the information on hospital health care quality offered on this site.
Medical Billing Advocates of America
On this website, you can search for medical billing advocates by state. (Medical billing advocates are private companies or individuals for hire that work with medical providers on your behalf to get your bills reduced).
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial
The National Institute of Health site has information on a multitude of dental conditions and consumer publications. You will also get information on where to find clinical trials and low-cost dental care.
Insurance Assistance Program
If you are on Medicare and have questions about it, this nationwide site will help you find local one-on-one assistance and counseling resources. Start with the drop-down menus to find your state and county programs.
U.S. News & World Report
http://health.usnews.com/health-plans and http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals
Find rankings of commercial health plans and hospitals at this news magazine's website. Tips on selecting a health plan, health insurance basics, and information on how reform may affect your health plan are also provided.
U.S. Department of Labor's Health Benefits Advisor
This federal government website offers consumers information on group health plans and their rights under federal health benefits laws. Laws covered include COBRA and HIPAA, among many others. Links to related health care websites and a glossary of commonly used terms are also provided.
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Comprehensive information about health savings accounts (HSAs) is provided by the Treasury Department and the IRS. Follow the IRS Forms link to find information about other tax-favored health plans such as medical savings accounts (MSAs), flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).
Nolo's Health Insurance and Health Care Expenses Section
Nolo is a great starting point when navigating the medical insurance maze. Its Health Insurance and Health Care Expenses section provides clear, useable information on understanding your health insurance plan and federal laws governing such plans, disputing denials of coverage by your health insurer, and managing medical costs.