In the Interest of Families

Information about Health Insurance

The amount of information in the media about upcoming changes in health insurance is expanding weekly. That’s a sign that people are starting to wonder how it all affects them. 

Anxiety. Since health insurance is a complex topic which many folks don’t understand very well to begin with, the idea of changes creates some anxiety: “How will I know what to do?”  That anxiety may push people to action, but decisions made out of anxiety are very risky. 

Keep calm. Instead of letting your confusion and worry push you to do something you don’t really understand, I encourage you to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you still have many months before action is required, and you will have many opportunities to learn what you need to know.

Learn a lot before making any decisions.  Use information available in the media, from insurers, from government agencies, and other sources.  But think critically. Not all information is created equal.

  • Consider the source: what is their motivation?  Does the information come from someone who wants to sell a product, push a political agenda, build their media market, or who has any other self-serving agenda?  That information may still be useful, but keep in mind that it may be incomplete or exaggerated, or emphasis may be slanted in one direction.
  • Get information from multiple sources, to balance out special interest information and to learn more.  Hearing the same concept explained in different ways helps strengthen our understanding.

  • Get some of your information from non-commercial, non-political sources.  Suggestions include:; the Kaiser Family Foundation and , the national Extension website, which this month is building its base of Frequently Asked Questions about health insurance.
  • Resist scams and hard sells. Whenever there is consumer confusion, there are opportunists ready to make a buck. Some criminal activity has already been seen; in addition, you may experience over-zealous sales pitches for products that are legitimate but which may or may not meet your needs.

Health insurance is an important decision for you and your family, so take your time to make a smart choice for you. For more information on this and other personal finance topics, go to or, OR contact Jan Monahan through your local office of ISU Extension and Outreach.

Contact Jan at the Dickinson County office: 712-336-3488 or directly at 712-240-0254 or email

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