HHS steps up its health insurance enrollment messaging

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

AHCJ members know that enrollment in the health exchanges (now known as “marketplaces“) starts Oct. 1 (and runs through March 2014). A lot of the American public hasn’t gotten the message.

Hoping to finally start getting through, HHS revamped its Healthcare.gov  website this week to make it more consumer/enrollment  focused. Watch  for more changes over the summer and fall to make it more of a hands-on enrollment tool. People will be able to create accounts, and apply and shop online for exchange plans. Social media and web chats are part of it, and it’s what our techie friends call a “responsive” site which is a fancy way of saying it works on all sorts of  screens and devices. (Here’s the full HHS statement)

There’s also a Spanish version, CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

The call center is up too – and it would be interesting to find out whether people in your community are starting to use it, what they are asking, how long they are on hold and whether the answers on target. (800-318-2596; for hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology: 855-889-4325).

Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News took a nice look at the Spanish language/Latino outreach (a story that can be retold in just about every community in this country – this is a huge target audience for the health law.) The NPR audio version is here; the KHN text version is here.