HHS Widget Links Patients to Affordable Coverage

The federal government’s HealthCare.gov recently unveiled the Insurance Finder Widget, one of several new tools designed to connect patients to practical information on health care.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new online widget, available at www.HealthCare.gov, to help customers find affordable health insurance. Widgets are basic programs that can be embedded into Web sites using an HTML code. Users launch the program by clicking an image.

The HHS Insurance Finder asks users to select a state and answer a few additional questions to describe their current health care situation. After clicking the “submit” button, users can view a list of private and public insurance policies that best suit their needs.

By embedding the widget on a pharmacy’s home page, pharmacists can lead patients to coverage while increasing the value of their Web site to visitors. Users can access the codes by going to www.healthcare.gov/stay_connected.html. Integrated into a Web site or blog, the widget looks like this:

Similar initiatives have proven successful in the past, drawing traffic that has helped government agencies communicate crucial messages to the public. During the 2009 peanut recall, a widget embedded on 20,000 partner Web sites brought 20 million visitors to the FDA’s Web site, according to a report by Federal Computer Week.

Healthcare.gov is one of several attempts by the Obama administration to update the federal government’s approach to online communication. In addition to finding insurance coverage, visitors to the site can compare the quality of care in nearby facilities and research the new health care reform law.

“By putting the power of information at your fingertips, HealthCare.gov is helping American families everywhere to take control over their health care and make the choices that are right for them,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • Pharmacy Times Mobilizes With New iPad App
  • Dark Chocolate Lowers Heart Failure Risk
  • FDA Regulators Weigh Cough Syrup Crackdown