Reform Alert - News from the Blues' Office of National Health Reform

CMS Launches Call Center

June 28, 2013

On June 24, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new website along with a 24-hour call center to assist consumers with open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplaces beginning October 1, 2013. CMS plans to direct consumers seeking to enroll in the new Marketplaces, both Individual and SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) to this new site.

Some features of the website include:

  • Consumers can access the website from their desktops, smart phones, and other mobile devices
  • Integration of social media
  • Chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries
  • Consumers can sign up for email or text updates, use a new Application Checklist to gather the information they’ll need to apply for October 1 open enrollment, including information regarding benefits, coverage levels, eligibility for subsidies, and public programs
  • Consumers can use a new drop-down menu of states for both Federally-facilitated states like Michigan, as well as links to individual state’s websites for states with state-based Marketplaces to apply for coverage, compare plans and enroll in coverage

The Marketplace call center will provide educational information and, beginning October 1, 2013, will assist consumers with application completion and plan selection. Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 beginning now.

CMS also added educational materials for professionals planning to help consumers apply for coverage. Materials include:

  • A series of FAQs by topic, including a search feature
  • Brochures, fact sheets, talking points, training materials, presentations and videos
  • Relevant research
  • News and events

Where can I find more information?
The press release announcing the launch can be found at


The information in this document is based on preliminary review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. The federal government continues to issue guidance on how the provisions of national health reform should be interpreted and applied. The impact of these reforms on individual situations may vary. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law’s applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. As required by US Treasury Regulations, we also inform you that any tax information contained in this communication is not intended to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.