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9 Great Health Insurance Books That You Need to Read Now

There are hundreds of books out there about the health insurance industry. Many of them have great ideas and action items about how to make an informed decision about your medical insurance purchase. While we haven’t read every book on the market, we thought it would be a good idea to break down 9 great health insurance books that will help you learn about the insurance world. Some of these books cover basic themes, such as what is a deductible, some are textbooks, and some cover more in-depth conversations like forward-thinking employer plans.

No matter your level of expertise, you can get some great knowledge from the books on insurance industry listed here. And you can also search for the best health insurance books with free downloads.  They have awesome information as well.

As a disclaimer, each link below will take you Amazon, and if you purchase one of the books, we will receive a small commission (seriously…small…but thank you!) If you choose to buy something through a link (at no cost to you) we appreciate your support!

Healthcare Made Easy:Answers to All of Your Healthcare Questions under the Affordable Care Act

Great Health Insurance Books - Healthcare Made Easy: Answers to All of Your Healthcare Questions under the Affordable Care Act by Michelle Katz

by Michelle Katz

This is a tremendous book that goes over the details of the Affordable Care Act. It is a great resource for employees, small business owners, and those that are self-employed. You will be able to save money when you read this book. It discusses things such as exemptions to the mandate that we all purchase health insurance, how can children be covered under the CHIP program, and how to receive lower costs on your prescription drugs.  It is written in a Q&A format, making it feel much more interactive and engaging.

Understanding the Insurance Industry: An overview for those working with and in one of the world’s most interesting and vital industries.

Great Health Insurance Books - Understanding the Insurance Industry: An overview for those working with and in one of the world's most interesting and vital industries.

by A.M. Best Company

If you want to know the basics of how insurance works, then this book is for you. It covers more than just health insurance and goes into property/casualty, life, and reinsurance and alternative risk transfer in addition to medical. This book is a great way to get an introduction to the key concepts and terms of the insurance industry. It is a short book and a quick and easy read. So if you are new to the insurance world either as a consumer or for your career, this book is a great place to start.

Easy Healthcare: Choose Your Health Insurance

Great Health Insurance Books - Easy Healthcare: Choose Your Health Insurance

by Lori-Ann Rickard

Under Obamacare, almost all Americans must be covered under a health insurance plan or else face a financial penalty at the end of the year. If you feel overwhelmed at Open Enrollment, don’t be alarmed. Choosing a health insurance plan is a daunting task for most people, and that decision is something that everyone wishes could be made easier. This book accomplishes that task. It is another short read that walks the reader through the steps to make the enrollment period much easier. You will be more confident that you are not overspending on your insurance plan while still making the best decision for you and your family. This is one of the great health insurance books for sale.

Affordable Care Act for Dummies

Great Health Insurance Books - Affordable Care Act for Dummies

by Lisa Yagoda and Nicole Duritz

Does the Affordable Care Act confuse you. Heard so much talk about Obamacare on the news that you have no idea what to think? This book does a great job of going over the details of the ACA. It discusses 10 essential benefits of the law, how to choose the best insurance policy for you and your family, and how the law affects employer coverage, whether it is a large or small employer. Written in the familiar “for dummies” style, the book is a quick read and set in brief sections. While not a deep dive at everything the law addresses, it is easy to understand and well organized. It’s a great book to read once and then keep around as a reference.

Health Insurance: Navigating Traps & Gaps

Great Health Insurance Books - Health Insurance: Navigating Traps & Gaps first Edition by Maura Loughlin Carley, MPH , CIC (Author)

by Maura Loughlin Carley

One of the comments on Amazon puts it best. Most of the talk surrounding health care and health insurance in America is so politicized, it is hard to make sense of what it true and what is not. This is one of the great health insurance books because it puts all of that aside and helps you understand how to handle your insurance needs. If you do not protect yourself the correct way with medical insurance, you leave yourself open to financial, physical, and emotional turmoil. Knowing how to play the game is vital, and this book helps you learn the rules.

Insurance: Concepts & Coverage: Property, Liability, Life, Health and Risk Management

Great Health Insurance Books - Insurance: Concepts & Coverage: Property, Liability, Life, Health and Risk Management

by Marshall Wilson Reavis III

The most important thing to know about the insurance world is risk. Risk is all around us, and everyone on the planet experiences risk at all times. How you and an insurance company handle risk is what forms an insurance policy. This book teaches you about the concepts of insurance and gives you ways to take action with your insurance. It will give you a way to see the big picture and what is at stake for everyone involved. Quick, and to the point, you will learn a lot in a short amount of time.

Health Insurance, Second Edition

Great Health Insurance Books - Health Insurance Second Edition

by Michael A. Morrisey

If you are looking for one of the great books about the Affordable Care Act, this is one for you. It gives a view of the role of private health insurance in the United States, and gives an understanding of Obamacare while predicting its effects. Health Insurance is a textbook, so you will learn a lot of great information including HSAs, moral hazards, Medicare, Medicaid, and more. Whether you are new to the world of insurance or a health policy expert, this book should be on your bookshelf.

Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care

Great Health Insurance Books - Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company's Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care

by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis

This is a book written for CEOs, CFOs, and HR Directors and VPs, but don’t let that deter you from reading this book if you are not sitting in those chairs. This is a great book to help people understand what kind of thinking goes into the health insurance decisions that companies make. All companies have different attitudes and philosophies when it comes to covering their employees, and it is always good to know the decision-making process. The book looks at the myths, facts, and strategies about an employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and then goes into the authors’ solutions to fixing the problems facing employers. A definite must read, even if you do not agree with everything that is said in the book.

The Company That Solved Health Care: How Serigraph Dramatically Reduced Skyrocketing Costs While Providing Better Care, and How Every Company Can Do the Same

Great Health Insurance Books - The Company That Solved Health Care: How Serigraph Dramatically Reduced Skyrocketing Costs While Providing Better Care, and How Every Company Can Do the Same

by John Torinus Jr.

This is a book that has been valuable to some of our employer group clients. Despite the Affordable Care Act and other regulatory measures, healthcare expenses continue to climb. Coverage may be better under Obamacare, but that leaves someone footing the bill, which in many cases are private employers. This book details the steps that one company, Serigraph, took to curtail the rising cost of health care. What they did is not for everyone, but anyone that has a stake in employer-sponsored healthcare, which includes employees, should be willing to think outside of the box. Costs can’t continue to rise like this forever, and it will take some creative thinking to reign in spending.

What Other Great Health Insurance Books Do You Like?

These are 9 great health insurance books that we have enjoyed reading. What books have been helpful to you?

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What is the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty?

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, now fully in effect, there is a mandate that every American purchase health insurance or pay a tax as a penalty.  So what is the dollar amount of the ACA individual mandate penalty, and what exactly would need to happen to cause someone to have to pay the penalty?  Lets take a look.

Exemptions from the Individual Mandate Penalty

Not everyone without health insurance that lives in the United States will be required to pay the individual mandate penalty.  If any of the following apply, then the penalty might not be required.

  • Religious opposition to accepting health insurance benefits
  • Membership in an Indian tribe
  • Incarceration
  • Family income below the threshold for filing an income tax return
  • You pay for than 8% of your income for health insurance after employer contributions and tax credits are taken into account
  • Undocumented immigrant

If an individual does not fall into any of those categories, then having insurance from the following sources would then exempt him or her from the individual mandate penalty.

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid or CHIP
  • Employer-sponsored plan
  • Individual insurance that is at least at the Bronze level
  • Veteran’s health program
  • A grandfathered health plan that was in existence before the ACA was enacted

If someone does not have one of those types of insurance plans, then odds are he or she will be required to pay the individual mandate penalty.

How Much is the ACA Individual Mandate Penalty?

The penalty for not having health insurance will increase as the years go by.  For the first 3 years of the law’s existence, the penalty will look like this:

YearGreater of:AdultChildFamily Max
20141% of family income, or:$95$47.50$285
20152% of family income, or:$325$162.50$975
20162.5% of family income, or:$695$347.50$2,085



Some key notes:

  • Definition of income: Total income in excess of the filing threshold ($10,000 for individuals, $20,000 for families, in 2013)
  • Penalty is pro-rated by the number of months without coverage
  • A single gap of coverage of less than 3 months will not result in a penalty.  This is of importance for those enrolling in the initial Marketplace Open Enrollment.  The Open Enrollment deadline is March 31, which will start plans on either April 1 or May 1.  For those without coverage on January 1, this would result in a lack of coverage for over 3 months, and would seem to then result in an individual mandate penalty.  However, HHS has said that individuals that fall in this bucket can file a waiver to avoid the penalty.
  • The penalty cannot be greater than the national average of Bronze coverage on the exchanges
  • After 2016 the individual mandate penalty increases by the cost of living index

There are many things to consider when it comes to insuring yourself and your family.  The ACA individual mandate penalty is one of those things.


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Affordable Care Act Deadlines You Need To Know

Time is running out for individuals who want to enroll in an Obamacare plan.  Enrollment so far has been lagging, and it will be interesting to see if people are not interested in enrolling or if there is not enough information available.  In any event, if someone does not have coverage by March 31 they will be required to pay a tax for not having heatlh insurance.  In order to avoid inadvertently being left out in the cold, here are some dates to be aware of.

February 15, 2014

Deadline for March 1 Enrollment

As a general rule, an individual must be signed up by the 15th of a month in order to have coverage start on the 1st of the following month.  Therefore, if you need coverage on March 1, you need to have signed up for an exchange plan by February 15.  Even if you miss this deadline by 1 day, you will most likely have to wait until April 1 to have health insurance.

Technically, since enrollment after February 15 would result in coverage that would not begin until April, the individual would be subject to the penalty for not having coverage if he or she was without coverage since January 1 (i.e. 3 consecutive months).  However, the federal government has said that as long as someone enrolls during the Open Enrollment period (through March 31) that person will not have the penalty applied.  Be aware that a hardship waiver may be required when filing 2014 taxes.

March 15, 2014

Deadline for April 1 Enrollment

As mentioned above, if you want coverage by April 1, 2014, you must be enrolled by March 15.  If you enroll between March 16 and March 31, you will still be in the Open Enrollment timeframe, but now you have pushed your effective date of coverage back to May 1.  And you’ll probably be required to complete a hardship waiver at tax time.

March 31, 2014

Last Day of Open Enrollment

In order to completely avoid a penalty for not having health insurance you must have your enrollment completed by March 31, 2014.  The first day of coverage will be May 1.

Do Not Wait

If you are wanting to enroll in an exchange plan, do not wait until the last minute to complete your enrollment.  While the marketplace websites are vastly improved over what was rolled out in October, there is no guarantee that you will not experience technical difficulties when trying to sign up.

Also, if you want the coverage, why wait?  Get signed up and covered as soon as possible.

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Young and Female? The ACA is Looking for You

One of the biggest challenges so far to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been the enrollment of young people.  A key piece of the insurance puzzle is to get those with low risk of loss to help pay for the claims resulting from those with a high risk of loss.  In the world of health insurance, this means getting young, healthy people to participate.  Without enough of this population, the cost of an insurance plan will be higher than anticipated.  For the ACA’s supporters, this could be a disaster.

So to combat this potential problem, a new campaign is being launched that targets young women.  The reason?  Enroll America, the advocacy group behind the campaign believes women will be likely to enroll their male counterparts.

It is still to be determined whether the lackluster enrollment in the ACA is due to lack of information about the program and subsidies available or if people just are not interested.  Less than two months remain in the Open Enrollment period.


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Top 10 Most Expensive Health Insurance Markets in the United States

Kaiser Health News has an article out that lists the 10 most expensive health insurance markets in the United States.  Some things to note about the list:

  • The ranking is based on the exchange available in each of the states, whether it be a state-run exchange for the federal exchange.
  • The ranking uses the lowest cost Silver Plan available in each region.  The Silver Plan seems to be the most popular marketplace option.
  • The ranking uses the cost for a 40-year old person.  Some states such as Vermont do not allow different rates based on age, so while Vermont is on Kaiser’s list, it may not necessarily be on every list of this type.
  • The cost shown does not take into account available subsidies.

It’s interesting to see how locations all throughout the country make the list.  Some are on here due to poor health and low employer-provided coverage, and some are on here due to high cost of medical care.

If you have been out shopping for health insurance on the exchanges, you have no doubt had many questions and have possibly had some sticker shock. Unless you live in one of these 10 locations, the sticker shock could be worse.

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