USA Today: HHS starts features to help consumers learn insurance

By: Kelly Kennedy

A new website will help explain the insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, where Americans will start buying health insurance Oct. 1 under the Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON — The government launched a new webpage, training videos and infographics Monday to help Americans better understand the health insurance exchanges that will launch Oct. 1.

“Everywhere I go, I meet people who are excited about the marketplaces and hungry for information,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday. 

About 7 million Americans are estimated to start buying health insurance as part of the new law, but a new survey shows they don’t understand the basics of how health insurance works or is provided.

Her remarks Monday came as a new survey showed only 14% of adults polled by Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh understood four questions about basic insurance terms such as “deductible” or “copay.”

“I have a Ph.D. in economics, and even I have a hard time making heads of insurance,” said George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist and lead author of the study.

The new features from HHS are available at, where people may now create a user name and password for the exchange website. There’s a new call center to answer questions for small businesses on the SHOP exchange.


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