Iowa State Helps to Educate Iowans about Health Insurance

Smart Choices workshopAMES, Iowa -- For many Iowans, federal health care reform took what was already a complicated process of buying health care insurance and added to the confusion.

That’s why Iowa State University is offering workshops, making posters and videos, and doing other kinds of outreach across the state to help Iowans wade through the process and better understand the Affordable Care Act.

 “It’s a timely issue and an incredible teachable moment,” said Suzanne Bartholomae, a state extension specialist and adjunct associate professor in human development and family studies. “The Affordable Care Act and health care reform are impacting many Iowans, particularly uninsured Iowans. This is information that’s going to potentially save consumers money and feed back into local economies.”

Human Sciences Extension and Outreach
is hosting up to 85 free workshops at libraries and extension offices across the state to help Iowans understand health insurance concepts and terms, evaluate their own health insurance needs, examine insurance plans and select a plan that fits their needs and budget.

The workshops are facilitated by 11 family finance specialists, all of whom have master’s degrees and expertise in financial literacy and education. More than 500 Iowans already have attended the several dozen workshops held so far. Sixteen percent of those who attended are uninsured, which mirrors the percentage of people uninsured nationally.

“They’re confused about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act and they don’t have confidence that they’re making the right decisions,” said Bartholomae, project director for Smart Choices in Health Coverage: An Education and Outreach Program for Iowans. “The goal of the workshop is to increase their confidence level and reduce their confusion, and to increase their literacy. It’s really about consumer skill building.”

See the complete story from the College of Human Sciences


Family finance specialists from ISU Extension and Outreach are hosting dozens of Smart Choice workshops, like this one in Shenandoah, to educate Iowans about health insurance. Photo by Heidi Carter.