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Insurance can be confusing, here are ways to understand it

  • Aniya Faulcon
FILE PHOTO: Ronald Pederson (left) gets help signing up for health insurance from navigator Christian Fattore.

 Liz Reid / WESA

FILE PHOTO: Ronald Pederson (left) gets help signing up for health insurance from navigator Christian Fattore.

Airdate: Thursday, October 6, 2022

Research has shown that confusion about insurance leads consumers to choose more costly coverage than they need and uncertainty about cost can cause people to delay or avoid the care and coverage necessary.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys and Zachary Sherman, Executive Director at Pennie, joined us on Thursday’s Smart Talk to provide insight on the world of insurance and tips on how to choose the best coverage plans.

Insurance rates have increased in the year of 2022, due to inflation, utilization in claims and the high cost of prescription drugs. Increase in insurance rates is one of the reasons people are deterred from purchasing an insurance plan, another is eligibility criteria but Sherman said those factors are always changing.

“So, if you’ve come and checked out the marketplace in previous years and not been eligible, it is worth coming back this upcoming open enrollment period to see if you qualify, ” said Sherman. “The savings are really significant, and they really go a long way towards making you be able to afford both the cost of your plan, the monthly cost of your plan as well as the services that you need when you need them.”

He also said, with the services his organization provides they try to break through the myth that someone can’t afford coverage and that someone is only qualified for financial savings if they have a low income.

Commissioner Humphreys said, when one is considering an insurance plan they should consider:

  • The financial cost i.e. premiums, deductibles and co-insurance rates
  • How premium costs balance with the deductible
  • If the physicians that you plan to see are in-network, to get the most coverage from a financial protection standpoint
  • How many options you will have for in network physicians

Commissioner Humphreys said, auto insurance is very different from health insurance. Location, age, and smoking status can effect someone’s health insurance rate. Auto insurance rates are effected by location, the type of care, the age of the car, the owner’s or renter’s credit score and the education of the driver.

Car insurance covers collisions, the vehicle, the driver, the liability if the policy holder caused an accident or is the victim of one by an insured or uninsured driver, and the spectrum of costs after an accident for car repair, depending on the type of policy.

“I think the number one thing is buying the right plan for your specific health needs,” said Sherman “And then I would say take advantage of financial savings that are available to you through payment. Understanding what your health care needs are likely to be in the coming year and that you’re signing up for a plan looking at both premium and out-of-pocket expenses that, you know, can get you the coverage and the access to the services that you need at an affordable price.”

Commissioner Humphreys and Sherman recommended that people visit or to get assistance in finding and purchasing the best insurance plan.

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