Free Online Classes Explain Health Insurance Coverage Choices

ISU Extension and Outreach Offers Smart Choice: Health Insurance in November

October 18, 2019, 1:37 pm | Joyce Lash, Laura Sternweis

Application for health insurance by Annap/, Iowa -- Open enrollment for health insurance plans takes place during October, November and December each year. Employer plans, private insurance policies and social programs publish changes to costs and policy coverage.

“It’s important to review your options to determine which policy will best meet your health care needs for the next 12 months,” says Joyce Lash, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“However, many people are so uncomfortable with health insurance policy language and details that they only compare premiums, which might not be the best way to make this important decision,” said Lash, who specializes in family finance.

Lash offered an example: Jamie chose a policy based on the monthly premiums. Shortly after the first of the year, Jamie broke an arm. The policy didn’t include adequate coverage, so Jamie paid premiums as well as out-of-pocket costs totaling $6,000. If Jamie had selected a policy with higher premiums, but better coverage for events like a broken arm, the out-of-pocket costs would have been $3,989.

Smart Choice: Health Insurance Basics and Smart Choice: Health Insurance Actions are two ISU Extension and Outreach classes that make comparing policies and understanding coverage easier. The two classes are free and will be available online in November.

Smart Choice: Health Insurance Basics will meet online, 7-8 p.m., Nov. 6. To receive a login for the class, register by Nov. 4 at This class will provide an overview of health insurance and cover strategies for selecting a health insurance plan that will meet your health care needs and fit your spending plan.

Smart Choice: Health Insurance Actions will meet online, 7-8 p.m., Nov. 13. To receive a login for the class, register by Nov. 11 at This class will include tips for:

  • using the policy to maximize benefits.
  • understanding billing statements.
  • resolving errors.
  • securing your medical information.
  • keeping important documents and health information.

Face-to-face workshops are being held in northwest Iowa during November. For more information, contact Jan Monihan, human sciences specialist in family finance,

Smart ChoiceTM Health Insurance was developed by a team of experts from across the nation led by University of Maryland Extension.  


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