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Thursday, May 28, 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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.