Your transition to next steps just got ever so slightly easier with the launch of a new government site that demystifies the new health care law.
When your term of service ends, you’ll have many things to figure out including things like job search, maybe a move to a new place, and health insurance — and how to afford it all with little savings from your stipend.
At least one piece of the transition just got a little easier.
Healthcare.gov launched this past week, giving you a place to start when you are looking for public or private health insurance options in your community (click on the “Find Insurance Options” tab) — you can also use the site to help out clients of your service site.
When I wrote Service Corps to Social Impact Career last year, I struggled with a section on finding health coverage during the transition — and wished for a website like Healthcare.gov that was easy to use, localized, and allowed graduating service corps participants to search for their options.
On Healthcare.gov’s Insurance Options Finder, you answer a few questions about yourself, such as which state you live in, your reason for needing insurance, whether you have trouble affording health insurance, and your age range. (Note, you don’t have to create a login, or in any other way identify yourself, so there should be few if any privacy concerns in answering these questions.)
After clicking on your answers, the site offers several options for you to investigate, including a listing of health insurance plans available in your area. (Unfortunately price comparisons won’t be available till this October.)
In another section of the site you can see how your state is implementing the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (“to make health coverage available to you if you have been denied health insurance by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition”). So if you’re worried about getting insurance because of a condition that’s been diagnosed already, you may have reason to hope!
You can also learn more about the new health care law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), passed in March, including a chronology of when the different provisions will take affect, and an interactive timeline of “what changes when.” And you can read the “Patients’s Bill of Rights.”
Finally other sections focus on prevention of health problems, and a tool that lets you compare health care facilities in your area on a range of different criteria including patient surveys.
Have you tried using Healthcare.gov? How has it worked for you? Have you gotten help for you or a client of your organization through using the tools?