Understanding the Health Care System

Last updated:  December 6, 2014

Avoiding or Preventing Health Care Fraud

Describes health care fraud, its risks, and ways you can avoid or prevent it. (National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association)


Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Covers the basics of the CHIP program, including what it covers, costs, and how to see if your child qualifies. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)


Complementary, Alternative Medicine, or Integrative Health: Be an Informed Consumer


Provides information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including making decisions about using CAM, selecting a CAM provider, and financial issues. (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)


Health Insurance Information

Discusses health insurance basics, tips for buying health insurance, terminology, and frequently asked questions. (Insurance Information Institute)


Health Reform and You: a User’s Guide to Health Insurance Marketplaces

Explains the health insurance marketplaces, the different coverage and plans options, affordability, and how to enroll. (Patient Advocate Foundation)



Provides information on both public and private health coverage options. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)


How to Request Your Medical Records

Provides advice and other tips for obtaining your medical records. (American Health Information Management Association)


Insure U--Get Smart About Insurance

Explains the different types of health insurance and gives advice on the types of insurance you are likely to need in different stages of your life (National Association of Insurance Commissioners)


Interpreting Your Insurer’s Explanation of Benefits

Helps you understand the explanation of benefits you receive from your health insurance administrator. (Patient Advocate Foundation)


Managed Care Answer Guide

Guide to assist you in choosing, understanding, and utilizing your health plan. (Patient Advocate Foundation)


Medical Identity Theft

Provides advice on detecting medical identity theft, making corrections in your medical records, protecting your medical information, and detecting other identify theft problems. (Federal Trade Commission)



Provides information about enrollment, health care benefits and coverage, managing your health, and selecting health care providers.


National Center for Health Statistics

Statistical reports on health and health care in the U.S. (National Center for Health Statistics)


Palliative Care: The Relief You Need When You’re Experiencing the Symptoms of Serious Illness

Helps you understand how you or someone close to you can benefit from special care when dealing with the symptoms of painful or serious illness. (National Institute of Nursing Research)


Qualifying for Medicaid Coverage

Explains Medicaid coverage and how to find out if you’re eligible. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)


Questions and Answers about Health Insurance: a Consumer Guide

Describes the different kinds of health insurance plans available today and answers questions you may have about health insurance. Also contains a glossary of health insurance terms. (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and America’s Health Insurance Plans)


A Shopper’s Guide to Long Term Care Insurance

Helps you understand what long  care insurance is, what it costs, and how to select a plan. (National Association of Insurance Commissioners)


Top 10 Ways to Make Your Health Benefits Work for You

Guidance for finding the health plan that best meets your needs and preferences. (U. S. Department of Labor)


Understanding Health Information Privacy

Fact sheet that explains the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Information on how to file a complaint if you believe that a person, agency or organization covered under the HIPAA Privacy Rule violated your health information privacy rights or committed another violation of the Privacy Rule. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights)


Understanding Medical Research

Quick overview of medical research, including how to find and understand research results. (National Institutes of Health)


Understanding Your Tests

General information on understanding laboratory tests. (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)


Usual, Customary, and Reasonable Charges Defined

Explains the use of a predetermined set of fees made by health plans. (Patient Advocate Foundation)


What Is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine?

Explains the difference between D.O.s and M.D.s and gives a history of osteopathic medicine and physicians. (American Osteopathic Association)


What You Should Know About Provider Networks

When picking a health insurance plan, explains what you need to know about a plan’s provider network. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)


When Health Care Providers May Communicate About You with Your Family, Friends, or Others

Discusses provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule related to when and how health care providers may share your health information with your family members, friends, or others involved in your care or payment for care. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights)


Where to Write for Vital Records

Information for each state on where to obtain birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. (National Center for Health Statistics)


Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act

Explains regulations expanding dependent coverage for adult children up to age 26 as part of the Affordable Care Act. (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)


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