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The hunt for health insurance

Today's news is that employers canned 80,000 workers in March, and the national jobless rate is 5.1 percent. That's after they pulled the trigger on 76,000 workers in January and another 76,000 in February.

Here in our corner of northern California, the jobless rate is up in double digits -- 10 percent, the highest it has been in 10 years.

That's a lot of folks out of work -- and out of health insurance.

So many employees depend on their jobs for access to health insurance. Everyone knows people who would leave their hateful jobs without a backward glance, if it weren't for the health-care benefits they would lose.

I tracked down portable health insurance last year, and the process took a lot of work and research. It can be a hair-tearing experience to find the right combination of family coverage and affordability.

Let me save you a little time.

Three excellent online consumer guides to start with are:

healthinsuranceinfo.net
ehealthinsurance.com
U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

The last one is especially helpful for knowing your rights regarding health-care coverage -- and you do have rights. If you're on COBRA continuation coverage until you find self-pay insurance, you'll be glad you brushed up.

If you want to hear personally from experts, Mercy Medical Center will offer a free, local presentation next week.

When: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Mercy Auditorium (lower level of hospital)
Who: Ankeny Minoux, president of Foundation for Health Coverage Education, and Barbara McClaskey, a local insurance agent

Minoux and McClaskey will discuss the various health-insurance options available through private companies and publicly sponsored programs. You can meet with them after a one-hour presentation to see what insurance options will work best for your family.

Call 24-MERCY/246-3729 to sign up for this free evening of information or go online and download a registration form at redding.mercy.org.

1 comment:

  1. Very kind of you to post this information, Kelly. The health insurance situation in this country is crazy. A few years ago, I was involved in a series of focus groups that were looking at the employment opportunities in the area and a lot of people who participated were staying at their jobs solely for the health insurance. One spouse would work for money, the other would work for benefits. And it's a complicated morass of confusing information out there for those who don't get coverage from their employers. So, thanks for sharing the fruits of your research.

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