WASHINGTON – At a hearing to review implementation of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to assure the American people that they will be able to sign up for affordable, quality private health insurance through the federal exchanges in a timely manner through the website, by phone or in person. He also urged her to make it easier for individuals to learn about the subsidies available to greatly reduce the cost of the plans they choose.
“The fundamentals of the Affordable Care Act are sound. For the three years that Obamacare has been the law, we’ve seen implementation of new protections that have benefited millions of Americans. We’ve expanded opportunities for all Americans to obtain affordable, quality health insurance; strengthened employer-based health coverage; offered preventive care services, like well doctor visits with no copays; and protected Americans from free-wheeling insurance company tactics that used to drop people when they got sick, charged women more for coverage than men, capped benefits, and spent more than a reasonable amount lining their own pockets than providing quality health coverage.
“What we need now is for the federal government to keep its promise and fix the bottleneck of a website that has stalled consumer shopping and enrollment in the health exchanges for individuals and families. We need to quickly allow everyone easier access to complete information on the private health insurance plans available to them and especially the federal subsidies they might be eligible to receive. I was encouraged by Secretary Sebelius’ description of expanded call centers and the availability of paper applications at health centers and with community navigators nationwide to assist with enrollments.”