A health insurance shopping site that actually works

Health claim formYou don’t have to wait for the federal government to fix the Obamacare Web site to learn about your insurance options.

HealthSherpa is the creation of three guys who actually seem to know how to program. Instead of fighting your way through confusing interfaces, legalese and a long sign-up process, you just type in your Zip Code and bam! Your options start to show up.

HealthSherpa allows you to modify your results by the number of family members and your income (which determines whether you get subsidies to cut the cost–most people do).

HealthSherpa doesn’t have the links to Social Security and the IRS that would allow you to sign up for a plan directly on the site. But it does offer links and phone numbers to insurers that can help you sign up once you pick a plan.

If only Kathleen Sebelius had hired these guys in the first place…

UPDATE: As commenter Kitty notes below, you’ll still need to go through Healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage if you want the subsidies and other cost reductions available through Obamacare. The HealthSherpa site allows you to see and explore your options, which should make signing up a bit easier.


  1. Thank you! This is super useful.

  2. Please do remind folks that signing up for insurance directly with an insurer does NOT get them the subsidy from the government that Healthsherpa indicates. So far, the only way to get the subsidy is to sign up through the healthcare.gov exchange…if you can. Insurers are negotiating with the gov. right now about how to give out subsidies directly (there are major privacy issues…do you want your insurance company to know how much you earn?) since clearly the healthcare.gov website is too screwed up to do it.

    Also, remind them that the premium subsidy is only the beginning. Those with low income will also qualify for something called a cost-sharing reduction (lower deductibles, max-out-of-pockets, and copays). Your health insurance company will not be able to give that to you either. Again, that only comes from going through the ailing healthcare.gov website. Healthsherpa appears to make no mention of cost-sharing reductions.

    • Good point, Kitty! I’ll make it clearer in the post that HealthSherpa is for shopping, not buying.