YONKERS, N.Y., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Reports, the nonprofit consumer service organization empowering consumers for more than 75 years, today announced the launch of HealthLawHelper.org, an innovative web-based tool that offers personalized guidance to help consumers better understand how they may be affected by the Affordable Care Act.
The centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act is an entirely new way of choosing and purchasing individual health insurance through new marketplaces. With open enrollment beginning October 1, 2013 and a December 31st deadline for taxpayers to avoid penalties, the tool and companion report will help consumers act quickly to identify the best course of action for themselves and their families.
The Health Law Helper will be available for use on September 26, 2013 at www.HealthLawHelper.org. The tool will also launch in Spanish at www.AseguraTuSalud.org and across a variety of platforms, including mobile and tablet, in October.
"Now is the time for consumers to act and we are dedicated to helping them understand the nuances of the law and take advantage of its benefits," said DeAnn Friedholm, Director of Health Reform at Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. "We created the Health Law Helper to help consumers quickly and easily get information about how the health care law may affect them and their families, understand any new options available and provide direction on how and when to take action."
Demand For An Unbiased Source
With 57 percent of Americans confused about how the new law will affect them, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Poll, and with the Congressional Budget Office finding 20 million people eligible for tax credits or other financial help through the law, a clear understanding of the options available can have dramatic implications.
Consumer Reports has closely covered the Affordable Care Act since before its enactment in 2010. The companion report, in the November issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.ConsumerReports.org/healthinsurance takes an in-depth look at how consumers are impacted by the Affordable Care Act based on three common scenarios: employer coverage, Medicare, and individual or no coverage.
"Health Insurance is already one of the most complex products to purchase and the Affordable Care Act gives it a major overhaul," said Nancy Metcalf, Senior Editor, Consumer Reports. "The Health Law Helper will provide customized information for consumers on every level of the coverage spectrum."
How It Works
The Health Law Helper is a customized, consumer-tested platform, which takes complex information and breaks it down into practical and useful nuggets for the average consumer. The tool has been designed to address a wide array of individual situations and circumstances, including:
- Well-insured users covered under employer plans or Medicare
- Uninsured consumers with new insurance options and responsibilities
- Consumers looking for better coverage with new insurance options and available tax credits
- Lower-income households who may be eligible for free or nearly-free Medicaid coverage
Using the Health Law Helper is a simple process that involves answering basic questions in four categories:
- State and Citizenship Status
- You and Your Family
- Health Insurance Status
- Income Bracket
Based on responses to a few questions in these categories, the tool provides a customized, printable report that identifies what an individual consumer should look for in the insurance marketplace. The tool is free and does not require users to provide their name or other personally identifying information.
The tool also showcases real stories from consumers affected by the health law, as well as links to more detailed health insurance content from Consumer Reports.
About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
SOURCE Consumer Reports