US unveils tools to help consumers choose health insurance

U.S. unveils tools to help consumers choose health insurance
Website, call center are part of insurance exchanges created under Affordable Care Act.

(HealthDay)—A new website and toll-free call center to help Americans navigate the new health insurance marketplace—a key component of the Affordable Care Act—were announced Monday by the federal government.

The website and the 24-hour-a-day will help people understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the Marketplace begins Oct. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The new website and toll-free number have a simple mission: to make sure every American who needs has the information they need to make choices that are right for themselves and their families—or their businesses," HHS Secretary said in a news release.

The website currently offers people information about what they can do to get ready for open enrollment in the fall. Over the summer, new functions will be added to the website so that, by October, people will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans, according to the news release.

For Spanish-speaking consumers, will be updated to match's features.

Between now and the start of open enrollment, the call center will provide educational information. Beginning Oct. 1, the call center will help consumers select plans and complete applications. In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.

The call center's number is 1-800-318-2596. Hearing-impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325.

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