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  WINDY CITY TIMES

HealthCare.gov helps same-sex couples find coverage
From a news release
2012-02-08

This article shared 4147 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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Americans are now able to use HealthCare.gov to search specifically for insurance plans that include coverage for domestic partners, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

The Health Plan Finder tool on HealthCare.gov allows consumers to compare the cost sharing and benefit choices of health plans and choose the best option to meet their needs. As a part of the plan finder update, domestic partners, including same-sex couples, can now filter plans that offer coverage for all members of their family.

"Last year, as part of our commitment to work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and be more responsive to the needs of these populations, we promised to improve the Health Plan Finder tool to give these individuals the ability to search for health plans that provide same-sex partner benefits." said Secretary Sebelius. "Today we have delivered on that promise."

Consumers looking for information on same-sex partner coverage can also access HealthCare.gov's regular features, such as sorting based on enrollment, out-of-pocket expenses or other key categories. The same-sex partner filter is also available for small businesses looking for coverage for their employees.

Studies have shown that a portion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is disproportionately uninsured, including those without access to coverage through a spouse, domestic partner or employer. This new filter helps address that issue by linking same-sex couples to carriers that provide benefits for their partners.

"In the past, many same-sex couples have faced challenges searching for health coverage that suited their needs," said Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. "This tool will eliminate the guesswork, providing an enhanced resource for exploring insurance coverage."

HealthCare.gov, created by the Affordable Care Act, is the first of its kind to bring information and links to health insurance plans to one place, and to make it easy for consumers to learn about and compare their insurance options. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services worked to define and collect detailed benefits and premium rating information from insurers across the country to develop the site.

New benefit specific information

HealthCare.gov has also expanded its information on plan benefits. Previously, the website gave consumers information on a variety of benefits, including primary care office visits, specialist visits, X-ray/lab work, hospitalization, emergency room visits, prescription coverage, mental health and substance abuse coverage, and maternity coverage.

With this new update, consumers will have access to a more comprehensive list of benefits each plan offers along with the level of coverage provided. The benefits will be listed as covered, not covered, covered with limitations, or available for an additional premium. The new benefits include such things as home health services, in- and out-patient rehabilitation services, skilled nursing facilities, hospice services, dental care, infertility treatments and weight loss programs.

In addition, HealthCare.gov provides extensive information about consumer rights, tips for how to navigate the market's complexities, and details on how the Affordable Care Act provides new protections for beneficiaries.

To access the Insurance Finder, go to the home page of www.HealthCare.gov and click on the blue tab "Find Insurance Options" at the top of the page.


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