HHS Launches Health Insurance Marketplace Educational Tools

From the Desk of Larry Grudzien

The Obama administration today kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help Americans prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance.  The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1.

“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 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“The re-launched Healthcare.gov and new call center will help consumers prepare for the new coverage opportunities coming later this year,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “In October, HealthCare.gov will be the online destination for consumers to compare and enroll in affordable, qualified health plans.”

HealthCare.gov is the destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Americans may now access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall.  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.  For Spanish speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will also be updated to match HealthCare.gov’s new consumer focus.

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 built with a responsive design so that consumers may access it from their desktops, smart-phones, and other mobile devices. In addition, the website is available via an application interface at www.healthcare.gov/developers.

Between now and the start of open enrollment, the Marketplace call center will provide educational information and, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, will assist consumers with application completion and plan selection.  In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.  Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 and hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance.

To view the new look and new focus of the website, visit www.HealthCare.gov.

HHS is on target for open enrollment in the Marketplace, which begins Oct. 1, 2013, and other key milestones approaching in the months ahead.  Coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

 

 

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About rjoyner

Ric Joyner, CEBS, GBA, CFCI Customer Experience Officer Ric is a founder of eflexgroup.com a national web based TPA for Cafeteria, HRA, HSA, Transit, VEBA and COBRA plans. eflexgroup is a leader in self-service employee benefit systems. eflexgroup was the first TPA in the industry to go “online” in 1999 allowing employees to self-serve 24 hours per day. He has lead the industry with eflex by placing provable customer service statistics, live, on eflexgroup.com Ric is celebrating his 32nd year employee benefits. He helped create TPAs such as TASC and Employee Benefits Corporation in Madison WI. He was a licensed insurance agent for 29 years. The designations Mr. Joyner holds are; Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, Group Benefit Associate, Certified Flexible Compensation Instructor, board approved by ASPA to teach Cafeteria Plan regulations. Ric also has a bachelors of science in Information Technology and MBA (emphasis is project management) and graduated summa cum laude from Capella University with a 4.0. Ric helped found the National Association of Professional Benefit Administrators (NAPBA.org). NAPBA is dedicated to training administrators in best practices and grass roots lobbying. Ric has served in the past as the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters State President in 2003. Ric is a frequent speaker and article writer for prestigious associations such as NAHU.org, NAPBA.org, Wisconsin SHRM, Austin SHRM, PACE.org, International Foundation of Employee Benefits, Tampa Bay AHU, WI AHU, Florida AHU, Florida NAIFA and participates on the List Serves (compliance programs for Consumer Driven Products of NAHU and International Foundation of Employee Benefits)

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