LANSING – During the first week of the Health Insurance Marketplace’s open enrollment, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) provided much-needed assistance to consumers looking to understand their opportunities and obligations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The most popular service was the department’s Marketplace Premium Estimator. Consumers accessed the site more than 100,000 times to estimate premiums and tax credits for policies available on the federal Marketplace. The amount of traffic to the DIFS Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program (HICAP) website reached a record-high 12,405 visitors and those looking for information about the health insurance changes called DIFS toll-free number more last week than during the entire month of September.
“It was clear that consumers had lot of questions about the launch of the federal Marketplace and were looking for help,” explained DIFS Director Kevin Clinton. “Online tools such as the premium estimator allowed Michigan consumers to get Michigan-specific answers 24 hours a day. In addition, the representatives answering our toll-free line were able to speak with residents who may not have had access to the internet or were more comfortable talking with an actual person.”
DIFS has stepped up its outreach efforts as well, presenting information at public seminars detailing the ACA’s effect on seniors, young adults, families, and small businesses. Department staff have participated in events attended by more than 1,000 residents since August and will travel over 3,000 miles presenting information in hometowns throughout the state by the end of the year. A full listing of upcoming events is available at www.michigan.gov/difs.
For those confused about health insurance, DIFS can help. The HICAP website, www.michigan.gov/hicap, provides a Marketplace premium estimator, information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, and an overview of the changes brought forth by the ACA. Michigan consumers can also call HICAP toll-free at 1-877-999-6442.