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Buying Your Own Health Care
CNBC.com | September 12, 2011 | 10:34 AM EDT

With so many Americans working as consultants or freelancers because of the bad economy, more people are paying for their own health care. There is plenty to consider when shopping for coverage, especially with the changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

A few years ago, Lisa Tsou, equipped with a law degree from Columbia University and an economics degree from Stanford University, became frustrated wading through information for a family member’s health-care insurance that she didn’t find straightforward or helpful.

Out of that was born MyHealthCafe.com —a watchdog site she calls “non-partisan and practical.” It provides articles, glossaries, and forums to help consumers understand health insurance, federal and state health-care programs, and prescription drug programs.

“It’s a big economic issue,” says Tsou. “How many bankruptcies involve medical bills? Most cases, and they typically have health insurance.”

In fact, according to a national study conducted by The American Journal of Medicine in 2007 and released in 2009 , 62.1 percent of all bankruptcy filings in 2007 were medical related. In most cases, the debtors were well-educated, middle-class people, who owned homes and had health insurance. And that was before the major economic downturn.

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