On Monday, June 24, the Obama Administration announced it had kicked off its Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as exchanges) education effort with a new “consumer-focused” HealthCare.gov website, as well as a 24/7 consumer call center designed to assist Americans in preparing for enrollment in the health exchanges.
The site is designed with the goal of helping citizens and businesses better understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when the exchanges open for enrollment on October 1, 2013, according to a Health and Human Services (HHS) news release.
“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, in a statement.
At HealthCare.gov, booksellers will be able to find out more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, for both themselves and for their businesses. Users may now access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall. HHS noted that the website will add functionality over the summer so that, by October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans.
Key features of the website, based on consumer research and online commercial best practices include integration of social media, sharable content, and engagement destinations for consumers to get more information. The site will also launch with web chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries.
The website is accessible from smart-phones and other mobile devices.
Between now and the start of open enrollment, the Marketplace call center will provide educational information. When open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013, users will be able to use this site to apply, compare plans, and enroll.
HHS stressed it is on target for open enrollment in the Marketplace — which begins October 1, 2013 — and for other key milestones approaching in the months ahead. Coverage will begin January 1, 2014.
The new toll-free number users can call to get their Marketplace questions answered by a customer service representative is (800) 318-2596.