Welcome to the Consumer Health Union blog!

This website is for people who use health care and need help figuring out how to manage the unsettled world of health care reform and changes.

In the last decade health care consumers (patients) have been put in a very different set of roles than used to be required. These roles present challenges most of us are not trained for. This site is an effort to bring together some helpful information for all of us in the new roles we occupy: managing health care finances, information, providers, and more.

Below are four areas of information with information and links to articles and information others have written about all this. Above are pages with those posts and some background educational information. Please drop a note with ideas about how this site can be more effective!

Be well.

The Consumer Perspective
Why does the word ‘consumer’ appear in information about health care? It’s because the US health care system is becoming more and more like retail shopping. We have more information and options than ever before–and it’s going to only keep going. Before we become patients and under someone’s care we need to understand a lot of stuff about how to work with health plans, providers, networks, insurance coverage, and so on. We have many, many choices to make about types of care, whom to seek care from, and what we’re even supposed to know. So the information in this blog is organized around the idea that we are health care consumers who, when we need to, prepare ourselves to become patients. They are both roles. And we often need help figuring out what to do. Read more…

As health care consumers, we have to manage a lot of information about what health care costs. We need to understand the costs of our insurance, what it covers and doesn’t, what our co-pays and deductibles are, and how to manage the confusing array of bills that are generated when we visit the clinic or the hospital. Read more…
Insurance & The Affordable Care Act
Health insurance is a big part of the US health care system, and the federal Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or ‘Obamacare’) is stimulating change in a number of areas. How do we figure out what all this means? Read more…
Technology is becoming a huge part of health care: the way information about us is gathered, where it’s stored, who has access to it, and what’s done with it. As more innovation takes place, the concept of ‘the monitored individual’ will become a reality, and it will be possible to have our personal health information gathered all the time. We should know what is possible–and also what we are really agreeing to by using technology. Read more….