What they say: The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation.
Why you should visit: A good place to start learning about consumer driven health care. Chock full of information about healthcare options and relevant public policy reforms, as well as news and commentaries on the economics and politics of the healthcare industry.
What they say: We are a Minnesota agency representing the finest health plans in the State including; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, Preferred One, Assurant and Delta Dental.
Why you should visit: One stop shopping for individual health insurance or small-group health benefits. Handy group-quote calculator helps small businesses find the best health insurance value. Individuals can download and review plan brochures and rates.
What they say: YourPharmacyBenefit.org was created to help people like you make good use of the pharmacy benefits that are part of your health insurance. Navigating your health insurance plan can be confusing, but understanding your benefits is important. Making sure you have access to the right medications — the ones that will best meet your needs — is important for keeping you and your family healthy.
Why you should visit: This well-designed site will help you select the best health care plan for your prescription coverage needs and help you make the most of your coverage.
What they say: The Governor endorsed the concept of the “Smart Buy Alliance” November 2004, which brought together the state and several other private health care purchasing coalitions representing large and small business as well as union groups – potentially representing nearly 3/5 of the state’s population. The goal is to get all these players acting in synch to drive reform in the market.
Why you should visit: This site promotes Gov. Pawlenty's iniative to streamline and create a more efficient health care industry.
What they say: Minnesota Rural Health Association brings together diverse interests to address rural health issues and advocates for and with rural Minnesotans.
Why you should visit: Good for links to and resources on health care matters with a rural slant.
What they say: Welcome to Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc., where patients can get free information, advice and advocacy services from attorney Jennifer C. Jaff and other volunteers trained to help you secure your rights.
Why you should visit: A brief primer on how to access health insurance for the chronically ill. Originally published in in "Take Charge," the magazine of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, for those living with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).
What they say: MCHA was established in 1976 by the Minnesota Legislature to offer policies of individual health insurance to Minnesota residents who have been turned down for health insurance by the private market, due to pre-existing health conditions. MCHA is sometimes referred to as Minnesota’s “high risk pool” for health insurance or health insurance of last resort. Currently, about 30,000 Minnesota residents are insured by MCHA throughout the State of Minnesota.
Why you should visit: Includes a summary of the seven coverage plans offered by MCHA, eligibility requirements and contact information. Although not a Minnesota state agency, MCHA is regulated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
What they say: Living well is the best reward. What does it mean to live well? It means taking a more active role in your health, discovering the power of diet, exercise and an ounce of prevention. In short, living well means a lot more than health coverage; it's an investment in the quality of your life... and to more and more people, it means Preferred Care.
Why you should visit: The Health and Wellness section of this site is loaded with great tips and information on health selfmanagement. Take a look at the Preventive Care Guidelines for a comprehensive list of screenings and services recommended for maintaining your health.
What they say: UHCAN is a nationwide network that promotes comprehensive health care for all through education, strategy development and advocacy.
Why you should visit: UHCAN is an activist organization lobbying for universal health care.
What they say: Today, more than half of all Americans who have health insurance are enrolled in some kind of managed care plan, an organized way of both providing services and paying for them. Various types of managed care plans work differently and include health maintainance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and point-of-service (POS) plans. You’ve probably heard these terms before. But what do they mean, and what do the differences mean to you?
Why you should visit: One of many valuable consumer guides on the AHIP Web site. No need to be a member, just click on the Consumer Information link to access the goodies.
What they say: We are the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the trade association for the independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. We are the proven consumer health advocates, always with the public's best interests at heart. When families are seeking quality health insurance, they think of our member Blue Plans.
Why you should visit: It's not exactly the language of love, but it is the lingua franca of the health insurance industry. This glossary of terms from Blue Cross Blue Shield will help you sort your CCPs from your PPOs.
What they say: This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-based health coverage, including changes in premiums, employee contributions, cost sharing policies and other relevant information.
Why you should visit: A look behind the rising cost of health care, the decline in benefits offered to workers and the drive to replace tradition health care benefits with high-deductible consumer-driven plans.
What they say: Welcome to the National Center for Health Statistics' Web site, a rich source of information about America’s health. As the Nation’s principal health statistics agency, we compile statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the health of our people. We are a unique public resource for health information–-a critical element of public health and health policy.
Why you should visit: For the bean counters out there, this is the place to go for data and statistics that measure health care spending by type of service and how it's paid for.