HHS promoting exchanges to consumers via texts, emails

Health insurers planning to participate in health insurance exchanges are getting some assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as it takes steps to promote the online marketplaces.

Since the public must know about exchanges for them to succeed, HHS has begun promoting this key element of the reform law through a relaunch of its website healthcare.gov, which it has renamed Health Insurance Marketplace, reported LifeHealthPro.

Through the new website, consumers can sign up for text alerts and emails so they can stay updated about exchange benefits, coverage options and other resources. When consumers sign up for these updates, they'll also receive a checklist of seven steps they can take to prepare for the exchanges, Politico reported.

"The Marketplace will offer much more than any health insurance website you've used before," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a blog post. "Insurers will compete for your business on a level playing field, with no hidden costs or misleading fine print."

Meanwhile, the agency is giving $1.5 billion in grants to 11 states--California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont--to help them develop their exchanges, reported Business Insurance.

To learn more:
- here's the HHS blog post
- read the LifeHealthPro article
- check out the Business Insurance article
- see the Politico article