Students Create Obamacare App

Four Georgetown law students developed a guide for consumers to use to determine if they want Obamacare before applying on HealthCare.gov.

Law students Gerald Leverich and Amanda Krause present their app at Georgetown University's Iron Tech Lawyer. The app is a guide to the Affordable Care Act for consumers who want to figure out whether they qualify for health coverage.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
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Clara Ritger
Dec. 6, 2013, 8:01 a.m.

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.

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