SOURCE: Office of the Patient Advocate

Office of the Patient Advocate

November 16, 2009 18:09 ET

What Every Californian Should Consider When Choosing a Health Plan

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - November 16, 2009) - During open enrollment, the Office of the Patient Advocate can provide resources to help you select the right health plan for yourself and your family. If you have more than one health insurance plan to choose from, start by comparing the costs, benefits, providers, and quality of each health plan to help ensure that you and your family choose a health plan that fits your health care needs. California's Office of the Patient Advocate has health worksheets and other online resources to help you understand and compare these aspects of your health plan choices and get the most out of your health care.

To help Californians understand and compare the costs, benefits and providers of their health insurance choices, the Office of the Patient Advocate offers the Compare HMO Costs, Compare PPO Costs and Asking About Benefits health worksheets. These worksheets are free to download and can help you learn details about your health plan options so you get better health care. To compare the quality of each health plan -- or to see how your current health plan measures up compared to other plans in California -- you can use the Health Care Quality Report Card. The Report Card is released annually by the Office of the Patient Advocate and allows you to see how well health plans meet national standards of care and how members rate their health plans.

"In a time of rising health care costs, Californians deserve tools and information to help them understand the often confusing world of heath care coverage," said Sandra Perez, director, Office of the Patient Advocate. "The Office of the Patient Advocate has the resources Californians need to choose well and get the most from their health insurance plan."

Health care plays an important role in the lives of all Californians. The Office of the Patient Advocate seeks to provide Californians with the information and tools needed to make informed health care decisions and get the most out of their health insurance plan. In addition to free educational materials, the Office of the Patient Advocate releases an annual health care quality report card rating the largest health insurance plans and doctors' medical groups in the state on quality of care and patient satisfaction as rated by members of the plan. There are also easy links to report cards on hospitals, nursing homes, PPOs, Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Healthy Families.

The Office of the Patient Advocate is an office in state government established in 2000 to inform and educate Californians about their rights and responsibilities as health insurance plan members and to teach them how to get the most out of their health care. To learn more about getting the most out of your health care, or to download health worksheets and other health care-related tools, visit www.opa.ca.gov.