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HealthCare.com launches insurance comparison website

ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

HealthCare.com on Monday announced the launch of its new health insurance comparison website that gives consumers choices to research, shop and buy healthcare plans and potentially lower their costs. HealthCare.com now features nearly 200 carriers and more than 90,000 health insurance plans, including plans offered by the healthcare exchanges, the company said.

HealthCare.com offers consumers tools such as a tax subsidy calculator that estimates potential financial aid from the federal government, a tax penalty calculator to measure how much tax would be due if someone decided not to buy health insurance, and a shopping guide to compare various insurance plans to determine which is the best economical choice for each individual. Consumers also will have the choice to apply online, seek counsel from a licensed agent over the phone, or schedule an appointment with a local advisor.

"We just want consumers to have good information,” said Jeff Smedsrud, co-founder and CEO of HealthCare.com. “Our goal is to become a destination website for a variety of healthcare searches, similar to how travel or real estate websites aggregate thousands of options with a few clicks.”

HealthCare.com has been a privately-held technology company based in Miami since 2006 when the domain name was purchased. It saw huge spikes in traffic around the launch of healthcare.gov.

In May, the company announced a $2 million founders round of financing along with its plans to launch its health insurance search and comparison tools ahead of the next health insurance open enrollment period. For the last six to eight months, the HealthCare.com team of about 25 people has been working nonstop, said Smedsrud in an interview Monday.

With 1.2 million providers in its directory, Healthcare.com has been averaging more than a million unique visitors a month, even before the new site and tools were launched. “We expect that to ramp up significantly as we go into enrollment period,” Smedsrud said.

“We are completely agnostic in how people enroll, whether through a local agent, call center, online or through an exchange,” he added. “We believe if people are given enough information and the right tools, they will make good decisions. There's a need for this type of marketplace.”

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