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Consumers need to look at all levels of health coverage

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Updated: 4/14 2:37 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- As the deadline to enroll for health insurance creeps up, some people who have been shopping are balking at the prices.

Under the Affordable Care act, they don't find the costs actually affordable. The National Health Council was in North Las Vegas Monday to address this issue.

Marc Boutin, Executive Vice President of the National Health Council, told them healthcare insurance is complicated, especially for the average person.

Americans are good at shopping for cars and electronics, but insurance is another matter.

"For people with complex chronic conditions who know they are going to use their healthcare, they really need to pick the right plan that gives them the best coverage at the lowest price," Boutin said.

This is the first year health insurance is mandatory. People with pre-existing conditions, from diabetes to cancer, can now access health insurance.

But when people aren't used to having insurance, or have usually depended on an employer for coverage, Boutin says bad choices can result in 'Sticker Shock.' He says consumers really need to look at all levels of coverage.

"So for many people it's actually better to pay a little bit more in the premium because it means the out of pocket cost may be dramatically limited. In other words, it would be much less over the course of a year, they can pay as much as $6,000."

Boutin explained how a new tool on the web can help. PuttingPatientsFirst.net asks many questions about patients needs, and can calculate all the options and costs.

"For instance healthy people may want a higher deductible and a lower premium, and someone with conditions may save money in the long run with a smaller deductible but a higher monthly premium," Boutin said.

Calvinia Williams, president of Lupus of Nevada Incorporated, says since this is brand new to many people, they should check everything.

"You have to take charge, you have to be your own CEO of your own body. You have to take charge of that," Williams said.

At this point, with just two weeks to go until the enrollment deadline, healthcare experts here say those who haven't signed up should really do their homework and seek help.

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