HHS launches Health Insurance Marketplace educational tools

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HHS has kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week consumer call center to help prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign people up for 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 website used to enroll in health insurance, called the Health Insurance Marketplace. Americans may now access new educational information and get ready for open enrollment this fall. Consumers can now create an account and, by October, will be able to complete an online application and shop for qualified health plans. The website is built with a responsive design so that consumers may access it from their desktops, smart-phones, and other mobile devices. The website now includes web chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries.  For Spanish speaking consumers,CuidadoDeSalud.gov is also updated to match www.HealthCare.gov’s new consumer focus.

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. The call center provides 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.

Tools and resources to tell others about the Health Insurance Marketplace is available at http://marketplace.cms.gov.  This website provides fact sheets, articles, videos, Power Point presentations, widgets and badges, and upcoming stakeholder engagement sessions.  The website also includes frequently asked questions, the applications for health insurance coverage, and information on the Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, other Assisters and Educators. Individuals can sign up to receive updates on the implementation of the health care law on the website as well. Many of these resources are available in Spanish and other languages.

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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