Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

By Bara Vaida

Reviewed by Lisa Zamosky

WebMD Health News

Confused by Health Care Exchanges? Help Is Coming

May 8, 2013 -- Now that the federal government is building health insuranceMarketplaces (also called Exchanges) in 34 states, the question is: Will customers come?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the government division overseeing the roll out of the new Marketplaces, is getting ready. It recently announced that thousands of people will be hired to staff call centers tied to the Marketplaces.

Beginning in June, 7,000 to 9,000 additional people will answer phones through CMS’s "1-800-Medicare" help line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The staff will answer questions about how to apply and enroll in the new insurance plans that will be offered in the states where the federal government is partially or wholly running the Exchange.

Under the Affordable Care Act, on Oct. 1, 2013, people and small businesses will be able to purchase insurance through a Marketplace. Officials hope it will be as easy to operate as web-based travel shopping sites like Travelocity. In the Exchange, people can look for different insurance options and decide the type of plan they would like to buy. They will also learn if they qualify for tax credits to help pay for insurance or for Medicaid, the health insurance program for people with low incomes. Insurance coverage is set to begin in 2014.

Educating people and small businesses on what insurance to buy may be a big challenge, given that many people still don’t know there is an option to buy health insurance. An April Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 42% of the public didn’t know the Affordable Care Act had become law. Among that group, 19% thought it had been struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress.

Of those people with incomes of $40,000 or less -- those most likely to benefit from the law -- about 56% said they didn’t have enough information to know how the law would impact their families.

CMS has been spending money to make the public more aware, including $28.2 million on the call centers. The funding was awarded to Alexandria, Va.-based Vangent (a unit of defense contracting firm General Dynamics), which has been operating the "1-800-Medicare" call centers for about a decade.

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices