Confused about Obamacare? Want to know more about your insurance options before open enrollment in October? Don’t even know what “open enrollment” means? The largest online health website in the country, WebMD, wants to help answer your questions.
WedMD on Tuesday announced that it is launching a comprehensive online consumer guide to the health care law dubbed the “Health Care Reform Center.” The interactive page features everything from informational videos about Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces, consumer protections, and enrollment options, to quizzes and FAQs about the law’s provisions, and even personalized calculators that help visitors determine how much help they’ll get from government insurance subsidies.
The online medical resource made its announcement in the same week the federal government launched two sites meant to educate American families and businesses about the Affordable Care Act. Those visiting the new webpages can view training videos and infographics, and sign up for preliminary online accounts that give them information about how the law affects them. Consumers will then be able to use those same accounts to find acceptable health plans and enroll in coverage starting October.
Obamacare proponents hope that the information hubs will counteract rumors and false information that could make it harder for people to buy insurance. Americans still have huge misconceptions about Obamacare and are confused by basic concepts in health insurance such as “deductibles,” “premiums,” and “co-pays,” according to recent surveys.
Efforts to obstruct and even sabotage the law are only adding to that confusion. By some accounts, opponents of the reform law have already outspent its supporters by a five-to-one margin, and Republican lawmakers continue to hold back funding for ACA outreach and education efforts. Some lawmakers, like Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), say they won’t help constituents who have questions about Obamacare. The Tea Party-affiliated advocacy group FreedomWorks is now telling young Americans to “burn their Obamacare draft cards” — despite the fact that no such thing exists — and forgo signing up for health coverage in October altogether.
The contentious political environment surrounding Obamacare is leading statewide groups to avoid using the terms“Obamacare” or “health care reform” entirely when advertising the new insurance marketplaces. The ads instead opt to present consumers exclusively with plainspoken facts and relevant information.
WedMD appears to be tacking the same approach with its new ACA information hub. In a statement, the company’s interim CEO David Schlanger said, “WebMD has more than a decade of expertise in providing health insurance information. The Health Care Reform Center builds on this expertise at a time when there is an immense need for trusted, objective information about complex legislation. We simplify it into information that is relevant, trustworthy, credible and, most importantly, actionable.”