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Tuesday, 26th May 2015

An Introduction to Health Insurance: What Should a Consumer Know?

Source: Congressional Research Service via Federation of American Scientists

From Summary:

Congress has seen a renewed interest in the market for private health insurance since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). This report provides an overview of private-sector (as opposed to government-provided) health insurance. It serves as an introduction to health insurance from the point of view of many consumers under the age of 65. No background in health insurance is assumed, and all terms are defined in the body of the report.

A consumer may find the purchase of health care inherently different from some other purchases. Health care can be expensive, and many relevant details concerning future health care may not be known when the consumer is choosing an insurance plan, including when over the course of a year (if at all) health care will be purchased, which services will be needed, and the costs of those services. These characteristics of purchasing health care decrease the consumer’s ability to plan financially and increase the consumer’s exposure to financial risk. The purchase of health insurance reduces the risks and unpredictability inherent in paying for health services.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 298 KB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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