As of December 31, the government says more than two million Americans have signed up for insurance through the state or federal health exchanges – some for the first time. Nearly 4 million more have enrolled in Medicaid.
It's akin to waking up to a new car in your garage, but not necessarily knowing how to drive. And consumers will be the first ones to tell you, there’s a lot to learn about health insurance.
According to a recent report from the Urban Institute, less than half of Americans with insurance felt like they had a good grasp on basic health insurance terms like premium, deductible and covered services.
“A lot of our focus has been on on-boarding a customer,” saysBrian Lobley of Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia. "What do we do to make that first experience not only useful to them, but to understand it.”
For example, Lobley says consumers might be tempted to purchase a plan with low monthly premiums, but he says that might come with expensive co-pays.
“And you’d be better off paying a little bit more per month to have a lower out-of-pocket cost,” he says.
Insurers want the customer experience to be positive the first time out. Because if it is, those customers could they stick around for years to come.
This week we're talking to people about big tech trends in the coming year. Today it's Cyrus Farivar, senior business editor at the website Ars Technica. He has been looking at some big tech issues in 2014 through the lens of some high profile legal battles.
The first case getting attention this year is that of Pascal Abidor, a French citizen whose laptop and phone were confiscated and copied when he was detained at the border between Canada and the U.S. in 2010. Abidor's lawsuit was dismissed this week by a federal judge in Brooklyn.
Other cases to watch this year include the criminal case centered around the illegal drug marketplace Silk Road, as well as the extradition hearing in New Zealand for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
Click play on the audio player above to hear more.
Starting today, Colorado will become the first state to begin allowing the sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. Recreational use has been legal in the state for about a year now, but today the plant will be officially available at stores with special liscenses. And, where there's a crop, and retail stores to sell that crop, there's a tracking system -- as in RFID tags. Not an alien concept to the world of retail. Some of these tags have a strap that you can attach to the plant. Each plant gets tagged, each tag has a number, and each number goes into an large online database. The Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solution or as Julie Postlethwait, an officer with Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division, calls it, MITS.
Click on the audio player above to hear more.