Monday, September 7, 2009

Shopping for health insurance

Over the long weekend, I had a chance to catch up on some reading. I pulled out the August 3rd edition of Forbes and started reading the "Fact and Comment" section by Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine. The heading for this column was "Washington: Still Abusing the Economy... and Undermining Health Care." These days, it seems like you can publish just about anything when it comes to politics and health insurance reform.

Forbes suggests some "helpful and constructive measures" that may move our country to a more genuinely "free-enterprise" health care system. One of the points he mentions is this:
I don't know how often people think about health insurance plans in other states. If you move around quite a bit, then perhaps you're aware of the differences that may be present. However, unless you're a student and you have your health insurance through your parents who live in a different state, you won't find many people who have coverage through a different state. You simply can't purchase health insurance from a different state.

When looking to buy insurance, you can save time and money by getting auto insurance quotes or health insurance quotes from reliable insurers. I recently did some insurance shopping for my family and I got quotes from everyone. It helps to use a broker if you're too busy to fill out forms, but you may be surprised to know that much of this can be done online these days. I also used comparison sites like J.D. Powers and Associates to compare different insurance plans.

When we see a public health insurance plan emerge, will this new plan actually cause enough competition that private insurers lower their prices? If it's properly designed, then I'm sure we will. Otherwise, it will flop. I'd like to be optimistic and hope that the government sponsored health insurance plan will be a success. If so, I'd like to see some public insurance options for auto, homeowners, and malpractice insurance.

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