Obamacare isn't for everyone.
Some consumers are navigating all the way through the lengthy HealthCare.gov application just to find out they can't sign up or won't qualify for the premium assistance that puts the "affordable" in the Affordable Care Act.
Four Georgetown law students developed a jargon-free app for Americans curious about the new health insurance options but not interested in the online federal exchange's wait times. "The Short and Happy Guide to Health Care Coverage" lets consumers see whether HealthCare.gov is for them.
"The great thing about the app is that you can input specific information about yourself, and after you get to the end of the program, it spits out a specific personalized report which you can email to yourself," said Will Morrison, one of the students involved in the project.
The students—Morrison, Gerald Leverich, Amanda Krause, and Jessica Nyman—said they embarked on the project before HealthCare.gov's failed launch. They used the lessons from the federal exchange website to shape their own work, making basic information about the law and who qualifies a priority after they learned that consumers often couldn't get far enough in the application to find out.
"Sifting through the law and pulling out all the relevant information was the hardest part of the project," Krause said.
In addition to determining whether a person qualifies for Medicaid and should apply through their state, or qualifies for tax credits and should apply for health insurance on HealthCare.gov, the app will calculate the penalty if you decide to opt out of health insurance.
While the app only won honorable mention in Georgetown's Iron Tech Lawyer competition, it was developed for Enroll America—the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to maximize the number of Americans enrolled in Obamacare—and could become a part of the organization's awareness and outreach efforts next year.