Healthcare


Healthcare.gov - Promoting Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment

by Patrick Riley 24 Jul 2013
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The Website created by CMS dedicated solely to educating and and encouraging Americans to use health insurance exchanges (HIXs) beginning in October to shop for health insurance is suggesting there are 3 things you need to know:

  1. The Marketplace is an easier way to shop for health insurance. By marketplace, they are of course referring to HIXs. CMS suggests using an HIX will simplify your search for health coverage by gathering all your options in one simple place for you to review. It goes on to explain that by filling out "one application" you will be able to compare plans side-by-side and find out what low-cost or free programs you qualify for.
  2. Most people can get lower costs. This a bold claim and a bit vague, but they are suggesting you may be able to get lower premiums even if you already have employer sponsored health insurance. Your savings will be based on your income. They go on to say, "Most people who apply will qualify for some level of savings."
  3. The Marketplace gives you control over your options with clear, apples-to-apples comparisons. Here they imply that all health insurance language will be simple to understand with facts that will enable you to make informed decisions about your health insurance. You wil, according to CMS, get a "clear" picture of your coverage and premiums before you enroll on October 1st.

Having spent 10+ years in the healthcare advertising industry actually writing ad copy for national managed care plans, hospitals, and health systems I would have to write this effort as poor. In other words, I never would have approved it for a client to see. There is just too much left for consumers to envision and understand.

Beyond these fundamental steps of good communication and a demonstration of understanding the behavior of online healthcare consumers, which CMS doesn't because they have never done anything like this before, there are so many unanswered questions about; 1. How are they going to verify my income online?, 2. How will I know how to compare coverage if the premiums are roughly the same?, 3. Will I be able to learn if my doctor is in the plan I am reviewing? Enough.

October 1st is less than 90 days away. Few, if any Americans understand the process for shopping online, and even fewer comprehend what benefits they may qualify for. Yet, this piece of the Affordable Care Act is the linchpin for gauging success for healthcare reform. Opposing political leaders are voting in Congress in hopes of removing funding for health insurance exchanges as I author this blog. So much is at stake. So many people have hope for a better life. Yet, it appears amateurs are trying to do too little, way too late. We will all know much sooner than anyone can imagine whether universal coverage will become a reality or the subject of late night comedians monologues.

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