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White House Launches Healthcare Transparency Site

HealthCare.gov offers a health insurance search tool and information on healthcare consumer rights.

The Obama administration Thursday launched a website aimed at providing more transparency into the U.S. healthcare marketplace, one that has long been a quagmire for the average consumer to navigate.

HealthCare.gov provides people with information about their rights as consumers of healthcare services as a way to give them more control over the care provided to them, according to a White House blog post by Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

"Through HealthCare.gov, individuals will have more control over their healthcare as informed and empowered consumers," she wrote.

One of the new site's most useful features is a tool that allows people to search for viable health insurance options by entering the state they live in and answering some questions.

In her post, Sebelius noted how difficult and confusing it can be to search for health insurance, and explains how HealthCare.gov aims to provide a simple remedy for this problem.

"The site makes a system that thrived on complication and confusion easier to understand," she wrote. "This kind of transparency helps create informed consumers which increases competition, reduces prices, and improves quality.

HealthCare.gov has about 500 pages of content that includes data for more than 1,000 insurance carriers and 5,561 open products. Of the products, 2,030 are in the individual health insurance market, while 3,531 are in the small-employer health insurance market.

Additionally, the site provides information on every Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program in the country, as well as information on every state's Pre-Existing Condition Plan, according to the blog post.

HealthCare.gov also gives people access to rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act as well as provides a timeline for when programs under the new law will go online between now and 2014, according to the post.

It also breaks down information about healthcare for people in various segments of the population, such as families with children, people with disabilities, seniors, and young adults.

The administration already is eyeing improvements to the site, Sebelius said in her post. In October, price estimates for health insurance plans will be available on HealthCare.gov. The administration also is taking suggestions on the current version of the site for other improvements people would like to see in future iterations.

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