Today the Obama administration 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. HealthCare.gov is the destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace, where 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 include 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 .
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. 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.