National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Choosing a Health Plan 101

December 18, 2013 | Health Care

Women are the health care decision makers in our country: they make approximately 80 percent of the health care decisions in their families – including decisions about health coverage.  Three months into the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period for 2014, millions of women are making choices about what health insurance plans are right for them and their families.

It’s clear that women still have questions about their health insurance options, the new insurance marketplace, and how to choose the best health plans for their families. It’s understandable – and a good thing – that women are asking these questions. Health insurance is an important, personal choice.  Choosing a plan can be confusing, particularly for individuals who are currently uninsured or have had inconsistent access to health care. Asking the right questions is the first step toward finding the right plan.

While every family has unique health care needs, all women need a basic foundation of knowledge to help them pick the plan that’s best for them.  To give women the tools and information they need, the National Partnership has developed a new resource, "Why the Affordable Care Act Matters for Women: Choosing a Health Plan 101." It explains basic insurance terms, answers some frequently asked questions about the marketplace, and identifies a few key factors that women should consider when choosing plans. 

It’s important to remember that even if you aren’t choosing a plan from the new marketplace, it’s still essential to know the right questions to ask about your health insurance.  Understanding how health insurance works and knowing what’s included in a specific health plan empowers all women, regardless of whether they are browsing plans offered through HealthCare.gov or looking at the options offered by their employer.

Check out our Choosing a Health Plan 101 – and remember to enroll in a health plan by December 23rd if you need your coverage to kick-in on January 1, 2014.


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