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US unveils tools to help consumers choose health insurance

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MONDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- A new website and toll-free call center to help Americans navigate the new health insurance marketplace -- a key component of the Affordable Care Act -- were announced Monday by the federal government.

The Healthcare.gov website and the 24-hour-a-day call center will help people understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The new website and toll-free number have a simple mission: to make sure every American who needs health coverage has the information they need to make choices that are right for themselves and their families -- or their businesses," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release.

The website currently offers people information about what they can do to get ready for open enrollment in the fall. Over the summer, new functions will be added to the website so that, by October, people will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans, according to the news release.

For Spanish-speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will be updated to match Healthcare.gov's features.

Between now and the start of open enrollment, the call center will provide educational information. Beginning Oct. 1, the call center will help consumers select plans and complete applications. In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.

The call center's number is 1-800-318-2596. Hearing-impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325.

More information

Click here to visit the Healthcare.gov website.

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