Before you buy, check out these online tools when shopping for health insurance

Problem Solvers
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SHAWNEE, Kan. — Even while fighting advanced ovarian cancer, Theresa Costello rarely cancels on a client, who have learned to sit patiently while she clips their hair. But Costello, who owns a pet grooming store in Shawnee, does not know how much longer she can keep working if she doesn’t get the chemotherapy her doctor ordered. She said her insurance carrier Coventry has yet to approve it.

“Every time you call there it’s something else,” Costello said.

Costello said her doctor wanted her to start chemo by late July, but when Problem Solvers met with her two months later she was still waiting for approval and started to lose hope.

“If the cancer comes back I’ve only got months left,” Costello said.

Complaints about Coventry insurance aren’t unusual. Although the policy was half the price of other policies she considered, Costello says she would have chosen differently if she had known the number of complaints Coventry has received in the last four years in both Kansas and Missouri.

That’s information she could have learned if she had looked up the company online. Both the Kansas and Missouri departments of insurance have complaint indexes on their websites which show how insurance companies compare to their competitors when it comes to customer complaints.

That’s something Costello wishes she had known before she purchased her policy. She said it was half of the price of other policies she had considered.

In Kansas, Coventry Health and Life has more than three-times the average number of complaints, and Coventry Healthcare of Kansas has six-times the normal number. Coventry’s rating in Missouri is equally bleak.

To compare health insurance rates, you should visit the federal healthcare website. The website will show you what’s being offered in the marketplace and at what rate. You might even discover you are eligible for a discount.

If you don’t find what you want there, you can compare rates by calling individual health insurance companies or find a plan through an insurance broker.

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