So, healthcare.gov is fixed- what’s next?
By: Dan Sheehan, SVP and CIO, DentaQuest
Earlier this month, Optum, the contractor with the task of fixing the well-publicized IT glitches on healthcare.gov, announced that its job was complete, the website is improved and consumers are able to more easily access the benefits they need. This is a big moment, not only for the Obama Administration and IT gurus everywhere, but also for the healthcare community as a whole.
By ensuring that healthcare.gov is a more accessible and reliable outlet for millions of Americans to review and select their healthcare benefits, all involved have brought coverage to those who need it most. While this is an exciting and important moment, we cannot let this success overshadow the continued work that must be done.
Now that the major functions of healthcare.gov are working well, government officials and their consultants must turn their attention to making healthcare.gov the most effective tool that it can be for consumers.
Specifically, when it comes to dental benefits and healthcare.gov, we still need to eliminate technological barriers for consumers seeking coverage. Healthcare.gov should:
· Allow consumers to shop for and purchase a stand-alone dental plan regardless of whether they also purchase a medical plan.
Right now, a consumer can only access stand-alone dental plans when purchasing medical coverage. This limits crucial access to dental coverage and care for people who may already have medical benefits through an employer or other government-sponsored program like Medicare.
· Develop support tools that will help consumers make the best decisions about the level of coverage they need for their families.
This could be as simple as including more educational information about dental coverage and the importance of dental care on healthcare.gov, to help consumers make the most informed choices about their coverage options. But it could also include the development of interactive tools that allow consumers to input information about their dental needs and get recommendations on coverage options based on what they need.
While many of these fixes will certainly require time, resources and brainpower, they are crucial steps to achieve access and improve healthcare.gov. By addressing these issues, the administrators of healthcare.gov will help remove some of the barriers that 83 million Americans face today when it comes to receiving the dental care they need.
At DentaQuest, enabling access by eliminating barriers to care is a part of our work every day, as we continue to prioritize oral health for all Americans. Tools like the new-and-improved healthcare.gov will help us reach that goal, improve access and provide care.