Online tools aim to help consumers navigate the new world of health insurance

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2013 - 11:56 AM

A new site uses true-or-false questions to help users figure out the Affordable Care Act.

A number of online tools are cropping up to help people figure out how the federal health care law will affect them in 2014, when the most significant provisions of the law kick in. Two of the biggest changes will require that all citizens have insurance and that insurers no longer reject those with pre-existing conditions.

The latest website launched Wednesday, and aims to help Minnesotans figure out how the law will change health insurance coverage. The site — myhealthcarefuture.org — was funded by a coalition of the state’s major health insurance companies and is a collaboration with the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, Citizens League, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and MN Community Measurement.

The website takes consumers and small business owners through a series of true or false questions to help clear up misconceptions about the federal Affordable Care Act. Perhaps most valuable is the “Resources” tab that provides links to state-run websites, offers information tailored to individuals and small businesses in Minnesota, and points to consumer-friendly resources from the federal government and others, such as the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The state of Minnesota’s website on health insurance exchanges (www.mnsure.org) has information about how the exchange will work for individuals, families and small businesses beginning in October. An online calculator helps consumers determine whether they qualify for subsidies or tax credits on the exchange, known as MNsure, and how much insurance might cost.

Exact prices of premiums won’t be known until at least May 17, when insurance companies submit rate requests to the Department of Commerce.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

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