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District of Columbia Government Launches Consumer-Driven Health Reform Website During Health Insurance Awareness Month

Friday, November 12, 2010

District of Columbia Government Launches Consumer-Driven Health Reform Website During Health Insurance Awareness Month

A powerful new information tool will give consumers more control over their own health care.

(Washington, DC) —The District of Columbia government today announced the launch of a new comprehensive website aimed at educating District consumers about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health reform law that was enacted in March. Similar to the national website created by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the District’s site at www.healthreform.dc.gov will provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool.

“HealthReform.dc.gov helps consumers take control of their health care to make the best choices for themselves and their families, by putting the power of information at their fingertips,” said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Launched to coincide with the annual Health Insurance Awareness Month in November, which is also during the District government’s open enrollment season (Nov. 8 to Dec. 13, 2010), the new site is a central database combining health coverage options from public programs (from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan) with information from several private insurance plans. The site also includes tips on preventive care, healthy living choices, tax credits for small businesses, and District legislation and regulations. Consumers can receive information about options specific to their life situations and the District of Columbia community. In addition, the site has links to health-based think tanks and HHS, which is overseeing implementation of federal health reform nationwide.

Content was provided by the four-member agencies of the District’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) in conjunction with the Executive Office of the Mayor, the Office of the City Administrator and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

Appointed by Mayor Fenty, the HRIC is co-chaired by Commissioner Gennet Purcell, Esq., of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking and Director Dr. Julie Hudman in the Department of Health Care Finance. Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director of the Department of Health and Mr. Clarence Carter, Director of the Department of Human Services, are also members of the HRIC, which hosted three public meetings and several sub-committee meetings on the direction of health reform implementation in the District of Columbia. HRIC activities are found on the website.

“People need to see the choices offered, what options cost, and how coverage works in practice,” wrote the HRIC members in a joint statement. “Today, HealthReform.DC.Gov takes an important first step in that direction. In the coming months and years, we will continue to update this site so consumers can see and understand, and make meaningful choices about their health coverage.”

Residents are encouraged to visit the website and to offer feedback on ways the HRIC might add information to grow and strengthen the site. They may send an e-mail to healthreform@dc.gov or visit the site, and click on Ask the Agency to send comments or ask questions.