On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. One of the provisions in the law was a mandate for HHS to make available, comparison insurance information to consumers on the web by July 1, 2010. On July 1, 2010, HHS launched healthcare.gov specifically to help the consumer navigate today’s health care challenges. Spearheaded by HHS CTO, Todd Park, the site uses the newest in Web Content Management (WCM) software that helps businesses increase traffic, drive conversion, and improve social interaction. HHS markets the web site as an information tool that “will give consumers more control over their own health care and allow them to compare their coverage option”. It is the first site that actually combines both public and private health coverage options in a single place.
The HHS press release says that “In October, 2010, price estimates for health insurance plans will be available online. In the weeks and months ahead, new information on preventing disease and illness and improving the quality of health care for all Americans will also be posted. The website also includes a series of opportunities where users can indicate whether pages were helpful to them and we will continue to seek user feedback to grow and strengthen the site.”
On July 7th, the first data addition was made to the site when CMS shared their Hospital Compare data. The information compares quality of care available in US outpatient and EDs as well as care for patients heart attacks and patient protection from surgical infections. In October, the site will have price estimates and more detailed information about deductibles and co-insurance.
And the reviews are coming in mostly positive. Here is what some are saying about the site:
Ezra Klien, Wasington Post
“Slick, easy-to-use site, which may be the best thing out there for seeing both the public and private health-coverage options for people in your situation in your area.”
“HealthCare.gov is a great first stop for anyone who is searching for health-care options. But you’ll still need to explore further to do a comprehensive search for health insurance.”
Andy Oram, O’Reilly Radar
“The latest in open government projects, which collectively provide excellent examples of the goals behind opening up data–not data for data’s sake, but data as a tool people can use to get more involved in policy, have an impact on civic life, and hopefully make their own lives better along the way.”
The White House
“HealthCare.gov can simplify the search to find healthcare coverage and explain provisions in the new healthcare law.”
Craig Newmark, Huffington Post
“Overall, the deal is better customer service from government, and better return for taxpayer dollars, pretty good.”
Kate Pickert, Swampland Blog
“The site is amazingly easily to navigate and isn’t overcrowded with information. Enter your zip code, insurance status, basic health status, family makeup and a few other details and up pops the insurance plans available to you. Pretty cool, huh?”