by April Foster
In the first tangible sign of the Health Care Reform Law, the Federal Government went public today (Thursday) with a new website designed to assist the uninsured. Healthcare.gov is a user-friendly web engine that in a simple four-step questionnaire, helps determine insurance eligibility and recommend potential private insurance options.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that there are 50 million uninsured Americans. It is estimated that roughly a quarter-million of those are Idahoans without coverage.
“It’s pretty exciting,” says Carrie Tracy, Policy Associate with the Community Society of N.Y., a health-care advocate helping to craft the new website. “There are a number of outstanding items on the ‘to-do list’ (i.e. The site is currently English-only, and it doesn’t include suggested policy rates), but it’s one of the first signs of real reform,” said Tracy. She says she expects the service to be translated to Spanish by the end of July, and suggested rates should be posted by October.
The website is surprisingly easy to use. Simply click on "Find Insurance Options" and you'll be guided through a series of six questions concerning age, location, and health status. The website asks for a zip code, then recommends private insurance companies, most of which offer multiple plans. You can view benefits, doctors, company information, and more.