Health Care Law's Big Task: Explaining It to Consumers

When President Lyndon Johnson wanted to enroll seniors for the new Medicare program he had just signed into law, the story goes that his administration sent out workers on dog sleds to reach people in the remote Alaskan tundra. "The Forest Service even had rangers looking for hermits in the woods," recalled the late Robert Ball, Johnson's Social Security commissioner, in a documentary on Medicare's 40th anniversary.

The plan to insure as many as 27 million Americans under the federal health law beginning this fall will be the biggest expansion of health coverage since that launch. Millions will be eligible to shop for insurance in the new online marketplaces, which open for enrollment Oct. 1 with the coverage taking effect Jan. 1.

But six months before the process begins, questions are mounting about the scope and adequacy of efforts to reach out to consumers — especially in the 33 states that defaulted to the federal government to run their marketplaces. The Obama administration has said little about outreach plans for those states, and neither the money nor the strategy is apparent.

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Source: USA Today