As consumers, there is very little that we can do about the rising costs of healthcare. But when it comes to health insurance plans, we do have a say. We get to choose the type of plan that we have, and if we take time to compare costs and coverage options, we also get to influence the amount we have to pay in insurance premiums. Before doing any of this, however, it is a good idea to research the various options available to you as well as the pros and cons of each.

There are several sites online that can help you research health insurance, compare rates, and get quotes. Some sites will even help you research the company you will be buying from. If you are interested in learning more about health insurance or if you would just like to review the options that are available to you, the following seven sites will provide a starting place.

  1. HealthCare.gov – This federal government website is maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The site makes it easy to research health insurance options in your state. You can also find information about illness prevention and the Affordable Care Act. HealthCare.gov also has a special section designed to help you compare hospitals, nursing homes, home health care services, and dialysis facilities.
  2. AHRQ – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers a free online consumer guide to health insurance. The guide answers frequently asked questions about health insurance. You can also use the guide to learn about various health plans and to look up definitions to common health insurance terms.
  3. A.M. Best – The A.M. Best Company is a credit rating organization that focuses on the insurance industry. The organization rates and analyzes the financial strength and creditworthiness of various health insurance companies. Before taking out a health, life, or disability policy, it is a good idea to check out the rating of the company you will be buying from.
  4. CAHI – The Council for Affordable Health Insurance provides a unique online info center for people who want to learn more about health savings accounts (HSAs). The online center offers an overview of health savings accounts, up-to-date news about state and federal health laws, and links to additional learning materials.
  5. Medical News Today – Medical News Today specializes in medical and health news, but they also offer a special section on the site just for health insurance news. The section pulls news stories from all over the web and puts them on one easy-to-navigate page.
  6. Health Insurance Quotes – This site makes it easy to learn more about insurance in your state and get quotes from multiple health insurance companies. Other site features include a blog and informational health insurance articles.
  7. NASE – The National Association for the Self-Employed provides a health insurance map for self-employed people as well as tips on getting quotes and finding affordable health coverage. Site visitors can also read health insurance news and informational articles on health insurance and related benefits.