The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today kicked off its Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused website and a 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help Americans prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance.  The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1, said HHS officials.

“The re-launched and new call center will help consumers prepare for the new coverage opportunities coming later this year,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "In October, will be the online destination for consumers to compare and enroll in affordable, qualified health plans." is now the official destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to HHS.  Americans can access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall.

Officials said the website will add functionality over the summer so that, by October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application and shop for qualified health plans. For Spanish-speaking consumers, will also be updated to match’s new consumer focus.

Key features of the website, based on consumer research and online commercial best practices include integration of social media, sharable content and engagement destinations for consumers to get more information. The site also features web chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries.

In addition to English and Spanish, the call center will provide assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.  Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at (800) 318-2596 and hearing-impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial (855) 889-4325 for assistance.