WebMD Health Corp., the leading source of health information, recently announced the launch of its Health Care Reform Center (webmd.com/myhealthcare) for consumers and the ACA Resource Center for physicians (medscape.com/resource/aca), to educate consumers and physicians and to provide actionable guidance about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Health Care Reform Center will include a series of live chats with experts, offering consumers personalized information to prepare for future health insurance decisions and navigate the health insurance marketplace at any stage of their journey—from young Americans who were previously uninsured to older Americans.
According to a 2012 user survey, 54 percent of participants expect WebMD to help point them in the right direction for health insurance decisions. Further, a July 2013 user survey shows 63 percent don’t know of an easy-to-navigate, neutral source of information about the ACA. Answering this call for information, WebMD users will now be able to access step-by-step guides to understand health insurance costs and the most critical information needed to compare and purchase a health insurance plan. To optimize user experience and access, the content is available across WebMD’s multi-screen platform and channels, from tablet and mobile devices to desktop, WebMD magazine and WebMD’s Facebook page.
“Today we are focused on driving a smarter health care system with an emphasis on quality, not quantity, of care,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to educate themselves about the rapidly approaching changes. Educational resources like those provided by WebMD are instrumental in transforming legislation into actions that will improve the quality of health care for millions of people across our nation.”
“WebMD has more than a decade of expertise in providing health insurance information, services, and proven tools to consumers on behalf of the country’s leading health insurers and employers,” said David Schlanger, Interim CEO, WebMD. “The Health Care Reform Center builds on this expertise at a time where 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.”
The resources and programs offered on the WebMD Health Care Reform Center include:
• A Health Insurance Cost Calculator that provides a straightforward, simplified health insurance subsidy calculator, showing both subsidized and non-subsidized premiums given a user’s income bracket. The calculator allows users to see their monthly and annual premiums adjusted to income, age, family size, ZIP code, and historical medical claims filed by patients like them, versus the penalty cost if they choose not to purchase insurance. Users can also find out if they are eligible for newly expanded Medicaid coverage based on their state of residence.
• State-Level Resources for each state launching a health insurance marketplace. Localized information will walk users through the basics of purchasing health insurance, the enrollment process, and important considerations for evaluating health insurance options in their home state.
• Easy-to-Understand Content beginning with a Quick Start Guide to customize the information provided, focusing on relevant content to individual users and their health care reform choices. Interactive elements — like quizzes, videos, infographics, and opt-in emails to receive personalized news — keep users engaged.
• Live Events that give consumers an opportunity to ask questions about the ACA and get personalized answers from WebMD and third-party experts. The chats will focus on specific facets of health care reform, including pre-existing conditions, preventive care services, state marketplaces, subsidies, and comparing plans. Questions can be pre-submitted to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, and the live chat is available at webmd.com/myhealthcare-events.
• WebMD Answers , a 24/7 opportunity for users to pose questions and receive answers from peers and experts. WebMD Answers has been a regular WebMD feature since October 2012, and the health care reform section is available on the desktop and mobile website and via the WebMD Facebook page.
WebMD worked with the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform to select its Expert Review Panel. The panel is composed of experts from the government, including representatives of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the private sector, as well as health policy journalists.
In pulling through educational efforts to the medical community, Medscape, WebMD’s resource for health care professionals, launched an ACA Resource Center to help health care providers understand how new ACA requirements will affect their practice. The center also includes patient education resources as well as videos, journal articles, slideshows, and expert video commentaries to help health care professionals navigate the changes expected with health care reform.
Health Insurance Advisor, allows consumers to explore different health insurance coverage scenarios and identify what type of insurance plan is best suited for their health needs and demographic. Tools like this are critical, given a recent poll showing 85 percent of Americans have no idea how new health plans will differ from one another.
The WebMD Health Care Reform Center can be accessed at webmd.com/myhealthcare, and the Medscape ACA Resource Center is available for physicians at medscape.com/resource/aca.
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