Throughout my life, I’ve had a lot of nightmare run-ins with health insurance. Here is an abridged list, for reference/schadenfreude:
• My senior year of college, I shattered my ankle. The effects of the numerous tests and surgeries I had to have still linger, especially on my credit score (double ow).
• When I first signed up for Obamacare, it took me six months to get the paperwork I needed, something that was attributed to a filing error.
• And just this year, after I spent more than a month fighting with my suspiciously affordable insurance company about it not having any record of me, it very suddenly shut down.
My stories are not unique, and they're definitely not the most egregious issues people have suffered through. But, in retrospect, I wish I had spent more time understanding the system instead of just dealing with it when it became a problem. Now, I’m no expert on health insurance, but the folks at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — a trade organization representing more than 1,000 health insurance companies — are. “Choosing the right health plan is critical to everyone and every family. And being an informed consumer is critical as well,” said a representative from AHIP. “That means understanding what services are covered, which doctors participate in the network, what financial responsibility individuals may have, [and] what preventative services and wellness programs are offered.”
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are a few tips to make it easier.