Extension To Host Free Course On Shopping For Health Insurance

Northwest Iowa — With only a short time remaining to secure health insurance for the upcoming year, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach is offering free workshops to help individuals understand how to make smart choices when purchasing health care coverage.

Two workshops will be in our area. One of them is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on November 14th at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office in Orange City. The other is at the same time, but on November 19th at the Sibley Public Library.

Extension experts tell us that Smart Choice Health Insurance is a health insurance literacy curriculum that provides research-based education to help consumers understand health insurance concepts and terms, evaluate their own health insurance needs, examine insurance plans and select a plan that fits their needs and budget.

Jan Monahan, Human Sciences Specialist in Family Finance with ISU Extension and Outreach says that as individuals and families consider essential benefits, additional coverage and pre-existing conditions, they may feel overwhelmed by the choices. She says that is true at any stage of life, whether the individual is turning 26 and leaving their family’s health insurance plan or if he or she has had their own health insurance policy for years.

Through the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, attendees will:

Understand the importance of networks and finding out which health providers participate in various plans;
Find out whether financial assistance is available to reduce the cost of health insurance;
Use a guide to identify their own health insurance needs and priorities;
Be able to compare different plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace; and
Prepare to purchase health insurance coverage.

Monahan tells us the workshop will help people choose the coverage that best fits their or their family’s budget and health care needs, and help them use that plan efficiently once enrolled.

For more information about the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office at 712-737-4230 or The program is free and open to the public, with no pre-registration needed.

Two classes are also available online:
Smart Choice: Health Insurance Basics will meet online, 7-8 p.m., Nov. 6. To receive a login for the class, register by Nov. 4 at This class will provide an overview of health insurance and cover strategies for selecting a health insurance plan that will meet your health care needs and fit your spending plan.

Smart Choice: Health Insurance Actions will meet online, 7-8 p.m., Nov. 13. To receive a login for the class, register by Nov. 11 at This class will include tips for:

using the policy to maximize benefits.
understanding billing statements.
resolving errors.
securing your medical information.
keeping important documents and health information.

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