Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties

Monroe County
901 Illinois Avenue
PO Box 117
Waterloo, IL 62298
Phone: 618-939-3434
FAX: 618-939-7708
Email: uie-mms@illinois.edu
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

Madison County
1 Regency Plaza
Suite 200
Collinsville, IL 62234
Phone: 618-344-4230
FAX: 618-344-5602
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm - Closed 12 Noon to 1:00

EFNEP Training Center
1269 North 89th Street
Suite 3
East St. Louis, IL 62203
Phone: 618-397-4973
FAX: 618-397-8823
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

East St. Louis Library Office
5300 State St.
East St. Louis, IL 62203

Scott Air Force Base Youth Center
4691 Patriots Drive
Scott Air Force Base, IL 62225
Phone: 618-256-4991
Hours: This office is only for Military 4-H Youth Programming

News Release

Test Your Knowledge about Health Insurance

Just how well do you understand health insurance policies? It’s a challenging topic! Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed people about health insurance terms and concepts; only 4% answered all of the 10 questions correctly. However, that quiz is from 2014. With the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes referred to as Obamacare) enrollment period now open, this seems like a good time for a new quiz. Let’s see how you do with this five-statement, true-false quiz.

People can enroll for health insurance anytime during the year.

False. In general, people need to sign-up for health insurance (either at work or through the Marketplace) only on certain dates. The Marketplace enrollment is now through December 15, 2017. This is a significantly shorter period than last year. The plan is for the website to be down for maintenance for 12 hours during all but one Sunday. Plan accordingly.

However, there is a special enrollment period for some exceptions such as losing health insurance, having a baby, and a change income. If you qualify for Medicaid, then you can enroll at any time during the year. For more information about these exceptions, go to www.healthcare.gov.

Medicare open enrollment ends December 7th; go to https://www.medicare.gov/ for more information.

The law does not require me to have health insurance.

False. The law still requires everyone in the USA to have health insurance. If you don’t, you are likely to be fined. Go to www.healthcare.gov/ to enroll in a health insurance policy through the Marketplace.

At the Marketplace website, people in Illinois have several choices of health insurance policies.

True. While signing up for health insurance may take a short time, begin the process now so there’s time to compare the different policies. Shoppers may also want to compare these policies to policies offered by their employer as well as those available directly from insurers.

When comparing different health insurance policies, there are different costs to keep in mind. Monthly health insurance premiums (the amount you pay each month for the insurance) is the first cost people typically consider.

However, be sure to pay attention to the deductible level – the amount you pay before your insurance begins paying for covered services. While higher deductibles typically lead to a lower monthly premium, it also requires that you can afford to pay the deductible if needed.

Also, consider the maximum out-of-pocket cost of the insurance plan. This is the most anyone has to pay for covered services in a plan year – not counting the premium costs. After this amount is spent, the health insurance plan pays 100% of covered benefits.

Last, but not least, look at which services are covered by the policy.

People’s costs for health insurance policies have increased by double-digits every year since 2014.

False. According to research done by Kaiser Family Foundation, average annual increases in premiums for health insurance provided by an employer continues to hover slightly higher than inflation (1-2% higher) since 2014.

In addition, this year East Central Illinois residents who are eligible for premium subsidies (through the Marketplace) are likely to find their premiums are less for 2018 than they are currently paying. Yes, based on a household’s income and size, subsidies are provided by the federal government to help pay for the insurance premiums.

People can receive in-person help to sign-up for Marketplace insurance.

True. Several local organizations have trained and certified people available to help you through the process of enrolling for health insurance. For options and contact information, go to https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#/.

How did you do on the quiz questions above?  Are you looking for a further challenge? Try the Health Insurance Quiz by Kaiser Family Foundation at https://www.kff.org/quiz/health-insurance-quiz/.

Source: Kathy Sweedler, Extension Educator, Consumer Economics, sweedler@illinois.edu