What you need to know before signing up for health care

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) –– Brian Leventhal and John Stires, owners of the Brooklyn Winery, should be focusing on the fermenting of their recently harvested Cabernet Franc grapes.  But these days, their biggest problem is crunching the numbers of their health plan.

Leventhal laid out their issues.

“It’s complicated, because we have part-time workers and full-time workers and people who work a little here and a little there.”

While the owners have told their full-time employees they will keep their coverage, they’ve yet to work out the details of which plan to pick and what deductibles it will offer to the workers who hail from all five boroughs and have vastly different provider needs.

The complications and glitches have plagued both New York’s and the federal healthcare.gov site.  In New York, initially held up as a model of what was working, a group of numbers meant to connect consumers to the trained navigators instead dumped people into busy donut shops and auto-body repair places.


Even the president is now admitting to what is plainly evident.  “Look there’s no denying it. Right now the website’s too slow, too many people have gotten stuck, and I am not happy about it. And neither are a lot of Americans who need healthcare and they’re trying to figure out how they can sign up as quickly as possible. So there’s no excuse for it. And I take full responsibility to make sure it gets fixed ASAP. We are working overtime to improve it everyday.”

Craig Hasday, a broker with Frenkel in New York and a member of the New York metro chapter of the Association of Health Underwriters was frank.  “The federal site? A disaster.  An absolute disaster,” he declared just hours after leaving a Washington, D.C. meeting with senior senators on the problems plaguing the federal rollout of the healthcare.gov website.

Now, he’s left scrambling to help clients navigate the changing and very confusing choices of all new healthcare plans.  Most brokers are now compensate $10 a month from insurance companies when signing up new consumers to the federally mandated plans.

He discussed the issues consumers are most concerned about:  My doctor isn’t on the plan.  Or one is, but my others aren’t.  There’s no hospital on my plan near my house.  I don’t know if my prescription meds are covered.  Bottom line?

“You really need a professional to help you.”

The issues to research before you buy through the exchange sites and the insurance company:

 ~The premium you want to pay

~Which then dictates your deductibles & co-pays

~Look at which of your doctors & hospitals participate in the plan

~And how many of your medications are covered under the plan


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