8 Websites That Will Help You Become A Health Care Reform Expert
Google the term health care reform and over 338,000,000 results show up.
I’m not kidding.
And I think I’ve visited almost all of them. As the Marketing Coordinator for a benefits and health insurance broker, I naturally spend the bulk of my time researching topics related to health care reform.
I thought it might be helpful to you if I put together a list of the 8 best websites I’ve discovered through my internet travels that have helped me become an expert on the subject and can help you too!
1. Kaiser Family Foundation
KFF.org is easily one of my favorite places to learn about health care reform. In case you didn’t know, Kaiser is a non-profit, private operating foundation focused on the major health care issues facing the U.S. They develop and run all their own research, journalism and communications. They are a totally non-partisan source of facts and information, which is what I love about Kaiser. Unbiased information is pretty hard to come by on the internet, as you’re probably well aware.
Their Subsidy Calculator is one of the best in the business. The tool is incredibly easy to use. Just answer 7 basic questions and it’ll tell you whether you will qualify for a subsidy or not.
Hey look! Everyone’s favorite health insurance website made the list. Now why on earth would I include this after all of the trouble its been through? Well, because the site actually does a good job at answering a lot of basic questions you might have about your health insurance. The search box (in the top right corner of the site) is intuitive and easy to use, which is a basic thing a lot of sites seem to screw up. Plus, you know the information on Healthcare.gov is accurate because it’s coming straight from the source.
The homepage. Here’s the thing … one of the most confusing parts of the new health care law is the open enrollment period. Just because you’re buying health insurance today doesn’t mean that it’s going to be effective the same day you enroll or even next month. The Affordable Care Act uses something called a rolling open enrollment period. I covered the topic in a blog post here if you’re not familiar with the effective coverage dates.
Anyway, I say the homepage because Healthcare.gov makes it clear what your effective date of coverage would be if you enrolled in a health insurance plan today.
3. NPR’s Health Care Reform Web App
NPR’s website is equally as educational as their radio programs. Huge Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me! fan here.
I’m sure NPR was getting bombarded with health care reform questions from their listeners, so they took matters into their own hands and built a website to answer them. They address over 80 common questions you’re guaranteed to have about the new law.
Make sure you bookmark the site on your phone. It’s fully responsive and easy to take on the go.
They have a print button that allows you to easily print out all 38 pages for convenient reading material before bed. Thank you for this feature, NPR. I’ve been trying my best to keep the iPad out of the bedroom to improve my sleep habits and you helped me do that.
4. U.S. Small Business Administration
As confusing as health care reform has been to individuals, I think it has been equally confusing to businesses. There are a plethora of new laws, regulations and guidance that employers must follow or risk being penalized for non-compliance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website isn’t packed with knowledge, but it has some good nuggets of information that can be useful to employers. What’s nice is that they separate the key provisions of the law into 4 key groups: Self-Employed, Employers with Fewer Than 25 Employees, Employers with Up to 50 Employees and Employers with 50 or More Employees.
SBA.gov is offering a free webinar series where small business owners can learn the basics of the ACA and what it means for their business and employees. It looks like currently they’re offering the series every week, with dates planned through the end of February. I’d take a moment to sign up for that before it’s too late.
5. Washington Post – Wonkblog
I haven’t been able to figure out why the Washington Post calls it their Wonkblog, but no matter what it’s called … It’s a great resource. The website is different than the others in this post in that it covers current news about Obamacare. Want to know which businesses are dropping their health insurance because of the ACA or the age breakdown for enrollees in the health insurance marketplace? Then this is your resource.
Sarah Kliff covers health policy for the Washington Post and is a daily staple on the Wonkblog. Take a look at her article archive and you’re bound to learn something. She’s already produced 22 stories this year about health care reform. That’s an average of an article a day – but who’s counting.
I think I use WebMD on an almost daily basis. If you looked at my browsing history you might think I was a hypochondriac. All jokes aside, it just makes sense that WebMD would be a go-to source for health care reform information. They have been a trusted resource in health care for as long as the internet has been around. They weren’t the first to put up their health care reform website, but you can clearly tell that they took their time picking and choosing the most important information for individuals to know.
I’m a big fan of things broken up into steps. WebMD breaks things down for you in 4 Easy Steps: Insurance Basics, Understand Costs, Your State Marketplace and Find Your Plan. Take their health care reform quiz while you’re at it and see how you’re knowledge stacks up.
7. Less Accounting’s Understanding Health Insurance
I happened upon this website while perusing Twitter early one morning. In fact, here is the tweet that led me to find Less Accounting’s Understanding Health Insurance site:
Health insurance is confusing — but @allanbranch from @LessAccounting put together an awesome guide here: https://t.co/E08iiJvEpC
— Jay Owen (@owendesign) January 15, 2014
You’re not kidding Jay. Health insurance is no doubt a confusing beast. But this resource that Jay tweeted out is awesome!
The site is written and produced by Allan Branch, a co-founder of LessAccounting.com. He decided to build the website after learning the ins and outs of buying health insurance in this new world of the Affordable Care Act. “I wanted to make choosing a health insurance plan less scary for others, so I wrote some articles to share what I learned,” he writes on the site.
This one is a gem among health care reform sites. I can honestly say that this is the first health care reform website that I’ve actually had fun reading. Allan’s writing style, coupled with his use of related animated Gifs makes all the difference in what is usually bland and boring material.
Allan promises that you’ll be able to read through the entire guide in “an hour” and he even goes as far as to place estimated read times next to every section. Take on the topics you have time for and skip over the ones you feel like you have a good grasp on. You’ll be a health care reform expert in no-time flat.
8. Kaiser Health News
For what I do at The Bailey Group, this resource is awesome. Kaiser Health News is just strictly a news resource. No facts, FAQs or easy-to-understand guides here. If it’s being reported in the US and it’s related to health care reform, then it’s probably going to be popping up in this feed.
This is where I found out about Target dropping health insurance coverage for their part-time workers yesterday.
Well, I wouldn’t say there is any one best feature on Kaiser Health News. In my opinion, the best part about it is they know their audience and that audience just wants the most up-to-date stories on the ACA. Nothing else. I’d compare it to an AP newswire for health care reform.
Any websites I missed with this list? Have one that you love that you’d like to add? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Mark Bailey, Jr. is the Senior Marketing Manager of NFP's Atlantic region. Before joining the company, Mark was a production assistant on the tv show Glee and an on-air talent on 95.1 WAPE. He has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and corporate benefits space. Mark is an avid Jacksonville Jaguars fan and loves to spend his free time building custom mechanical keyboards.