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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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Uncertainty Regarding Healthcare Reform Cited as No. 1 Concern Among Health Insurance Consumers

Uncertainty surrounding the impact of healthcare reform is the No. 1 issue health insurance consumers will face in 2013, according to one of the nation’s leading experts in the field.

“Individuals and small groups have a lot of questions regarding what reform really means, what insurance rates will look like, and how public and private exchanges are going to work,” said Gregg Ratkovic, senior vice president of Word & Brown’s individual division. “They are hopeful that reform will lead to easier access, more choice and greater affordability; but in reality there are more questions than there are answers.”

Ratkovic says that among the questions consumers are asking most often are what kind of coverage will be sold through health insurance exchanges, how to obtain insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, and who should consider a high-deductible plan. Other commonly asked questions include how will access to the physicians and hospitals be impacted, will rates be going up or down, and how easy will it be to buy insurance under healthcare reform?

Surrounded by this uncertainty, Ratkovic says that consumers and small business owners should turn to independent health insurance brokers who can provide the unbiased information needed to make intelligent health insurance decisions. “Brokers can also ease individuals through the enrollment process and can work with their clients to take advantage of the incredible online tools and technology that can help with an informed insurance selection.”

Among the tools Ratkovic says are most effective are HealthCompare (www.healthcompare.com), which provides consumers with easy access to hundreds of plans online and leads shoppers through the process to help find the right health insurance plan at the right price. For those on Medicare Joppel (www.joppel.com) is a CMS-approved quoting engine designed to help brokers and seniors easily evaluate, compare and enroll in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) health plans, Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans and Prescription Drug (Part D) coverage. Through Joppel individuals on Medicare can view all of their options side by side and go through a simple needs assessment that narrows down hundreds of plans through criteria that are specific to them – such as what medications are covered, cost of co-payment and plan premiums.

“There’s a lot of noise in the marketplace, and consumers are looking for help in making sense of it all,” says Ratkovic. “By working with brokers and leveraging the right tools, consumers can take the guesswork out of their insurance selection and lessen the uncertainty that’s inherent in these times of change.”

Operating nationally, The Word & Brown Companies include the Word & Brown® General Agency, with divisions focused on group, Medicare, individual and family insurance coverage; CONEXIS, the nation’s first outsourcing provider to offer benefits administration on a single, Web-based, fully integrated system; CHOICE Administrators, the nation’s leading developer and distributor of health insurance exchange programs; Quotit® Corporation, the foremost national provider of Internet sales and marketing solutions for the health insurance and employee benefits industry; and HealthCompare® and Joppel by HealthCompare®, which help individuals, families and seniors easily research, compare, buy and enroll in the right health insurance or Medicare Advantage, Medigap or Prescription Drug plan at the right price. The Word & Brown Companies have built strong relationships with partners across the country – including more than 50,000 brokers and hundreds of health plans through which they provide benefits and service to approximately 60,000 employers with nearly 6.5 million eligible employees and hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide. For more information about the firm, visit www.wordandbrowncompanies.com.

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