On October 1, 2010, the Obama administration announced the addition of a “Find Insurance Options” section to the government’s healthcare.gov web site in an effort to make “the health care system more transparent,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The section allows users to complete a form, supplying basic medical and demographic information, in order to view a selection of health insurance plans available in their immediate area with information including, but not limited to, price, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and potential restrictions. A Spanish-language version of the tool can be found at CuidadodeSalud.gov.
The White House is attempting to create greater awareness and understanding of the nation’s new health care laws before the November mid-term elections in the face of growing negative campaign rhetoric on the part of Republican candidates. In a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation in late August, approximately 53% of Americans do not understand the new law. Three in ten elderly Americans still believe they will face “death panel” decisions about their end-of-life care.
Sebelius, speaking at a breakfast for reporters in Washington the last week in August said, “I get sort of frustrated at times that there’s still — I’m debating in some ways mythology. But it’s real as far as people are concerned, so that debate needs to continue.”
Insurance changes currently in place include a prohibition against discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions, the removal of lifetime limits on coverage, and the provision to allow children to remain on their parents’ health policies until age 26. The bulk of the law’s provisions will go into effect in 2014.