Picking the right health coverage isnt easy and often frustrating. And, under theAffordable Care Act (ACA), most Americans must have health insurance by 2014.
In order to cope with rising health costs, states will be required to set up health exchangesonline marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can find more affordable insurance plans.
Already there are several major companies getting ahead of the curve by giving employees a fixed amount of money and allowing them to choose their own coverage based on individual need.
To help you explore your options and stretch your health care dollars further, check out these five websites:
Rising treatment costs and unaffordable insurance caused four in 10 Americans to struggle to pay their medical bills last year, according to a 2011 Commonwealth Fund report. Here are two sites that can help.
- HealthPocket.com lets consumers compare and rank every health insurance plan available in their region. They can sort plans by information they deem important, and compare the price and quality of their options without the distraction of paid listings.
- Simplee lets you track health expenses based on you and/or your familys history. Simplee breaks it all down in an easy-to-understand dashboard. You can also shop for a health plan based on expenses and doctors.
For adults, the ACA will not require the purchase of dental coverage. Meanwhile, the average dental insurance benefit has remained capped at around $1,500 for the last four decades as more Americans delay their dental care due to costs.
- DentalPlans.com provides an easy-to-use dental insurance alternative for the 130 million Americans without coverage. Visitors search by ZIP code to compare Discount Dental Plans and participating dentists. You can shop for a plan to save money on most procedures at more than half of the dentists across America.
While vision is not required under the ACA, there are 177 million Americans that need some sort of vision correction, according to Jobson Optical Research.
- EyeBenefits.com allows members to search an online database of more than 14,000 optical locations for discounts on vision care from providers in their area, including routine eye exams, lenses and contacts.
A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that uninsured adults were more than twice as likely as insured adults to not fill a prescription, cut pills or skip doses of medicine because of the cost.
- PPARX.org allows individuals to apply for prescription assistance. This site lists discount drug card programs and helps qualifying patients without coverage get what they need for free or nearly free.
What do you use to manage your health care bills? Share with us in the comments below.