Debuts on a Computer Near You

New HHS website a source for all things healthcare reform.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a new website to help Americans better understand and explore the options open to them as healthcare reform legislation takes effect.  The website was mandated in the healthcare reform bill passed in March; in October, there will be a tool that lets people compare pricing for various insurance plans.

Insurance companies aren’t entirely happy with some of the content on the new HHS website.  The industry’s lobbyist, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) told HHS that they were not comfortable about the insurance plan information that might be detailed on the website.  One of the sore spots was the government’s request for data on how many claims are denied by healthcare plans.  According to Robert Zirkelbach, an AHIP spokesman, “Providing information about claims denials without providing proper context does not begin to tell the whole story.”  Zirkelbach said that claims are often denied because of duplicates or submitting a claim to the incorrect health plan.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, writing on the White House blog, said “The site makes a system that thrived on complication and confusion easier to understand.  This kind of transparency helps create informed consumers, which increases competition, reduces prices and improves quality.”  The website’s two-minute video explains the law and its provisions, while a tab on the home page provides in-depth information on the law. even has its own Twitter account.

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