Enrolling for health care under the Affordable Care Act has proved to be tough for many Pennsylvanians.
But Getting Covered, a website created by local organizations, aims to help patients analyze their health care needs and simplify the insurance-shopping process.
The educational project is an effort from Transforming Health, a partnership between WellSpan Health, WITF and PinnacleHealth.
Developers worked on the site — the first of its kind in Pennsylvania — for several months and launched it at the end of December, said WITF multimedia production manager Heather Woolridge.
"It's a lot of work and time and effort put into it, really taking the time to personalize it," she said.
Navigating the confusion: The development team knew that Oct. 1 was going to be a big step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and designed the website for people who now need to get covered, Woolridge said.
"What we're finding is people are still unaware that they need to get coverage," she said. "And people that need it most don't know where to go to get it."
The site outlines coverage options, costs and how to buy health insurance, and users tailor it to their needs, Woolridge said. It is continually updated, as the health care narrative is constantly changing, she said.
"So the goal of this site is to kind of drill down and give you the basic information that you need to know to help you navigate through all the confusion," she said.
Local insight: Getting Covered features video, audio, calculators, advice from health professionals in the area and personal stories from local people searching for insurance, Woolridge said.
"We wanted to localize it and give Pennsylvanians a voice in the site, as well," she said.
Transforming Health used WellSpan's expertise during the site's development with the goal to "support people in their journey toward achieving better health," Kevin Mosser, president and CEO of WellSpan, said in a news release.
Patients must enroll for health insurance by Feb. 15 for coverage that begins on March 1. Those who do not have insurance must enroll by March 31 or face a tax penalty when they file this year's taxes in 2015.
Getting Covered is available at www.transforminghealth.org/gettingcovered.
— Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.