Weather Forecast


Smart Choice Health Insurance workshops set: Free events Feb. 26 in Jamestown can help people with their various health insurance coverage decisions

Sweeping health care reform legislation means many North Dakotans have more health insurance options. Yet many are also uncomfortable, overwhelmed and intimidated when it comes to making decisions about health insurance coverage.

That’s why a team of North Dakota State University Extension agents is bringing a new program to North Dakota. Smart Choice Health Insurance is a comprehensive, research-based, unbiased curriculum designed to equip people with the tools they need to make the best decision possible for their families when choosing health insurance.

Through the Smart Choice workshops, participants will learn how to analyze what they need and want from health care providers, compare plans, calculate how health insurance will affect their financial budgets, and ultimately, apply the information and knowledge gained to make a smart choice. Consumer workbooks allow participants to enter and use their own information to evaluate their health insurance choices.

“Smart Choice” is not about pushing consumers to select any one specific plan,” said Lori Scharmer, NDSU Extension family economic specialist.

“As the local extension educator,” said Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, “I’m pleased to offer this workshop here in Jamestown. I know people in our community want to make smart choices about their health and finances. This workshop can help them do just that.”

Smart Choice will be offered in Jamestown on Feb. 26 at North Dakota Farmers Union, 1415 12th Ave. SE. There will be two sessions that day at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.

With health insurance currently in the public spotlight, Smart Choice seeks to capitalize on this teachable moment by helping Americans take control of their personal and family financial health needs.

“Keeping your head above water can be extremely difficult when navigating the waters of health insurance —whether you’ve been insured throughout your life or are faced with selecting coverage for the very first time,” Rittenbach said. “Smart Choice acts like a life vest; it empowers people by eliminating the intimidation factor, explaining the steps in the process and ultimately showing them how to find the best fit for their needs.”

For more information on Smart Choice, visit For local information about workshops, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or NDSU.Stutsman.Exten