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Press Release Date: March 27, 1997
Information released today in print and on the Internet will
help consumers choose a health care insurance plan that best
meets their needs and help them get the most from their plan.
Choosing and Using a
Health Plan was developed through a partnership with the
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Insurance
Association of America (HIAA).
"AHCPR is pleased to join with HIAA in providing
information consumers need to help make sense of their
increasingly complex choices in health care insurance," said
Lisa Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., Acting Administrator of AHCPR.
"Typically, people know that health insurance is
important and that they need it, but all too often they may be
confused by the wide variety of coverages," said HIAA
President Bill Gradison. "This new guide provides clear,
concise information that will enable consumers to choose the
coverage that is best for their needs."
Choosing and Using a Health Plan was developed for
consumers who have a choice of health plans and those who already
are in a plan. "Whether or not you are able to choose your
own health plan, it is important to understand what kind of
protection your plan provides and what you need to do to get the
health care you and your family need," Dr. Simpson said.
The guide stresses the importance of knowing the
"basics" when choosing and using a health plan. When
comparing plans, this includes considering the services offered,
choice of providers, location, costs and quality.
"There are different plans to meet the different needs of
consumers," said Gradison. "Our new guide will help
people learn about these differences and decide which coverage
options are most important to them."
For those already in a plan, the guide offers tips to help
consumers learn how to obtain care, how to understand the plan's
hospitalization rules, and steps to take if not satisfied with
their care. Consumers also are encouraged to stay informed about
their policy and to take charge and keep track of their health
AHCPR is the lead Federal agency charged with supporting
research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce
its cost and broaden access to essential services.
HIAA is a National trade association whose more than 250
members are insurers and managed care companies that serve tens
of millions of Americans.
Up to 50 free print copies of the guide are available from
AHCPR by calling its toll-free clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295,
or by writing to: AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box
8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907. Specify AHCPR publication number
Up to 5,000 print copies of the guide are available from HIAA
by calling its toll-free clearinghouse at 1-888-844-2782.
A Spanish-language version of the guide will be available
later this year.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs:
Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864 (SPrasad@ahrq.gov); or contact HIAA's
Richard Coorsh at (202) 824-1787.