By: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Today, the process of reviewing your health insurance options, selecting a plan, and enrolling for coverage can be a complicated and time-consuming task. But thanks to the health law, all of that is about to change.
Starting October 1, 2013, the new Health Insurance Marketplace will make it easier for individual consumers and small businesses to make a side-by-side comparison of multiple coverage options. The Marketplace will also tell you whether you qualify for lower premiums and then give you 3 ways to enroll: online, by mail, or in-person at a designated help center.
And to make the process even easier, the Health Insurance Marketplace is training information specialists, known as Navigators, assistance personnel, or certified application counselors, to answer all of your coverage questions. And with multiple points of contact, you can get those answers virtually any time, anywhere:
- Online. HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov offer live chat, where you can ask a specialist questions in real time. You can also set up an account today, so you’re ready for open enrollment, which starts October 1.
- Phone. We speak your language: Our trained call center staff speak 150 different languages. You can reach them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-318-2596. (Small business owners can reach the dedicated SHOP Marketplace call center at 1-800-706-7893, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.)
- In-Person. Trained specialists at certain organizations in your community, such as local health centers and libraries, can offer face-to-face help by answering questions or assisting with your application .
Finally, if you’re looking for general updates and the latest news about the Health Insurance Marketplace, bothHealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov provide e-mail and text message reminders. Just visit the site and look for the “sign-up” button near the middle of the page.