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New Tool Helps US Consumers Choose Health Insurance

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Jul 2013
A new US Federal website and call center will help Americans navigate the new health insurance marketplace.

The Healthcare dot gov website and the 24-hour-a-day toll-free call center will help people understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, launches on October 1, 2013. The website, developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS; Washington DC, USA), currently offers information in preparation for open enrollment in the fall. For Spanish-speaking consumers, the CuidadoDeSalud dot gov website will be updated to match Healthcare dot gov features.

Over the summer, new functions will be added to the website so that people will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans. Until the start of open enrollment, the call center will provide educational information, and on October 1, 2013, it will help consumers select plans and complete applications. In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.

“The new website and toll-free number have a simple mission: to make sure every American who needs health coverage has the information they need to make choices that are right for themselves and their families—or their businesses,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Currently, consumers in the individual insurance market have limited options. In 46 US states, more than half of all enrollees are covered by just two insurers. Starting in 2014, individuals will be able to switch plans and shop for coverage that fits their budget and needs. Most states will have new health insurance choices made available through the Marketplace, with new entrants attracted by insurance reforms coupled with premium tax credits and stabilization programs. Based on publicly released data from 19 states with HHS-run Marketplaces and from state-run Marketplaces, about 90% of target enrollees will have five or more different insurance company choices. To date, more than 120 issuers have applied to offer qualified health plans in the HHS-run Marketplace.

Related Links:

Healthcare.gov
US Department of Health and Human Services



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