(Washington, DC) - As the nation’s congressional leaders continue to debate health care reform, the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is using the month of November as the District’s third annual Health Insurance Awareness Month to highlight the disparity between insured and uninsured residents in the District of Columbia.
“Bringing attention to health insurance is critical this year, especially as there are approximately 46 million Americans without health care coverage,” said DISB Commissioner Gennet Purcell. “It is especially troubling to me that approximately 64,000 District residents are without health coverage. DISB uses this essential month to continually inform residents about the types of private and government-sponsored health insurance plans and types of coverage available to them.”
Having health insurance is important because coverage enables people of various economic levels to receive timely medical care, which maintains and improves the quality of their lives and their health, according to Commissioner Purcell. It has been a year since November 7, 2008, when DISB launched its Facebook page to target a younger, more diverse audience. Today, the agency has nearly 50 fans who follow its updates and offer feedback to the agency. Recently, DISB began to Twitter about the agency’s endeavors as well. Follow DISB at twitter.com/DCDISB.
Commissioner Purcell hopes that by marking this month as Health Insurance Awareness Month, District consumers will better understand how to navigate through the complex products provided by health insurance companies, so they can acquire products and benefits that best fit their coverage needs.
Highlights of the month include:
- The First Annual Family Expo. On Saturday, November 14, 11 am to 8 pm, DISB will be on hand to give targeted information on health insurance and to answer any questions related to that topic at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
- Health Insurance Consumer tips related to life-situation-based health coverage will be highlighted on the Website, emailed and mass mailed to the public.
- An employee workshop on health insurance during the District’s open enrollment on Thursday, November 19, 2009, 12 pm – 1 pm. The workshop will be held at DISB’s office, 810 First Street, NE, Suite 70l. This is a closed session to DISB employees only.
- DISB encourages residents to visit the one-stop website on health coverage options in the District. In 2007, DISB developed the healthinsurance.dc.gov website in partnership with the Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. It offers comprehensive information on health coverage options both in the market and through government-sponsored programs, as well as demographic-specific information on insurance options for individuals, families and small businesses. DISB encourages web surfers to visit the page often.
DISB will continue to use this month, working with its partners, at workshops and events, to increase awareness on health insurance issues.