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New Consumer Focused Health Care Website Launched

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
A powerful new online tool that will give consumers more control over their own health care and allow them to compare their coverage option.

Washington, DC — The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week unveiled an innovative on-line tool that will help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage. A requisite of the Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov is the first national website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool. The DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), one of the lead agencies in the District of Columbia responsible for the implementation of health care reform in the city, hailed the website as an easy tool that helps consumers take control of their health care by allowing them to make the right choices for themselves by putting the power at their fingertips. “For too long, the insurance market has been confusing and hard to navigate,” said DISB Commissioner Gennet Purcell. “The new website, HealthCare.gov, makes it easy for consumers and small businesses to compare health insurance plans in both the public and the private sector and find other important health care information.” The new site has been added to, DISB’s Health Care Reform link which was created April 2010. DISB has also been working closely with the city’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to create the citywide health care reform link at healthreform.dc.gov, which will be continually updated for functionality in the coming months. And in 2007, realizing how confusing health insurance could be to residents, DISB worked with the District’s Department of Health and OCTO to create the city’s first comprehensive one-stop website on health insurance to mark the District’s first Health Insurance Awareness Month in November.   HealthCare.gov is the first national central database of health coverage options, combining information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans. Consumers can receive information about options specific to their life stage and situation, and local community. In addition, the website will be a one-stop-shop for information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as other health care resources.  The website will connect consumers to quality rankings for local health care providers as well as preventive services. The website is quite comprehensive, as it was developed by significant input by consumers and regulatory agencies. Although it offers more than 500 pages of content, it is easy to navigate, and its content is designed to grow with ongoing consumer feedback and as the health care system improves. As the health care market transforms, so will HealthCare.gov.  In October, 2010, price estimates for health insurance plans will be available online. In the weeks and months ahead, new information on preventing disease and illness and improving the quality of health care for all Americans will also be posted. The website also includes a series of opportunities where users can indicate whether pages were helpful to them and HHS will continue to seek user feedback to grow and strengthen the site. In the coming months, it is expected that the site will have added pricing and plan performance information so that consumers can see, understand, and make meaningful choices about their health coverage.