Smart Choice Workshop January 23rd

With less than eleven weeks remaining to meet requirements for having health insurance, or else pay a penalty, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a free workshop to help Greene County residents understand how to make smart choices for purchasing health care coverage. The workshop will take place Thursday, January 23, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Greene County Extension Office
Through the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, attendees will:

  • Understand how to calculate the cost of health insurance plans;
  • Learn how to understand which health care providers participate in various plans;
  • Find out whether they may qualify for tax credits or cost sharing assistance to pay for coverage;
  • Use a guide and a tool for identifying their own health insurance needs and priorities;
  • Be able to compare different plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace; and
  • Learn how to purchase coverage at

“This workshop will help people choose coverage that best fits their family’s budget and health care needs and use that plan efficiently once enrolled,” said Michael Cooley, county Extension coordinator for Greene County Extension.  “Whether you’re looking at options through the federal website or you have options through your employer, you’ll come away with a better understanding of how to evaluate your plan options.”
According to course facilitator Ruth Freeman, Human Sciences family finance specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, information on the Affordable Care Act and the related tax credit and cost subsidy information will be covered, but it is not the sole focus of the workshop.  She said consumers need to first decide what level of coverage and which type of policy is best for them.  That’s where this workshop comes in.
Freeman said she has long recommended health insurance as an important part of financial security.  “Insurance my help cover ‘normal’ medical expenses, such as your annual check-up or treatment for your child’s ear infection, but that’s not the reason it is important,” said Freeman.  “Those expenses aren’t cheap, but many people can cover the costs without insurance.  The real benefit of health insurance comes when someone has a serious health problem that’s unexpected.  That’s why health insurance is recommended.  You pay a moderate amount in premiums every year to prevent financial disaster whenever the major health expenses come along.”
The Smart Choice Health Insurance Program is made possible by funding from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant.
The program is free of charge, but pre-registration is requested to make ensure a seat and a significant amount of materials that are provided to participants.  To register or for information about the local Health Insurance Marketplace workshop on February 23, contact the Greene County ISU Extension and Outreach office at 515-286-2138, visit or email Michael Cooley at 

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