Governor Bob Riley and State Public Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson announced the creation of a new website to help Alabama consumers learn more about health insurance and the variety of plans available in the state.
As a joint effort between the Governor's Black Belt Action Commission and the Alabama Department of Public Health, the website helps consumers better understand health insurance terminology, resources and possible tax benefits. The web address for the site is http://healthinsurance.alabama.gov/.
"Health insurance is a very complex subject that impacts us all. This website is an innovative, common sense approach that helps eliminate the knowledge deficit when it comes to this complicated issue," said Governor Riley. "It's another example of the kind of successes our Black Belt Action Commission has produced, but this one will help citizens throughout the state."
Dr. Williamson said, "We applaud this initiative because the website will provide Alabamians practical guidance in selecting the best health insurance for their needs and will provide them the protection they need for themselves, their families and their employees."
Congressman Artur Davis, who chairs the Black Belt Action Commission's health committee, issued the following statement about the new website: "I compliment Governor Riley for his leadership regarding Alabama's Black Belt. The Governor has recognized that in our state, many patients and employers lack information about how to obtain the most affordable insurance coverage. The new website announced today provides a vehicle for employers to access details regarding health plans, savings options, and tax benefits that are available to them.
"This website is an example of government working to produce results in a manner that neither puts new burdens on our tax payers nor requires new bureaucracies. This is a welcome development if you care about the delivery of health care in Alabama."
The user-friendly website provides information about health insurance plans available in Alabama. The site also provides tax calculators for individuals so they can see the possible tax benefits of purchasing health insurance for themselves and their families.
A series of focus groups conducted in six Black Belt counties, the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey data on Alabama's uninsured rate, and needs identified by key health care stakeholders led to the creation of the website.
The website is housed and will be maintained within the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Alabama Department of Public Health.