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DC Health Link Launches a Doctor-Find Tool

August 20, 2015

Washington Business Journal: D.C. health exchange launches new tool to make finding a doctor easier
By Tina Reed - 8/20/2015, 5:00am EDT

D.C. launched a new online tool to ease the task of finding a doctor that accepts plans sold on the District's health insurance marketplace.

Called the Universal Doctor Directory 1.0, the new tool available on D.C. Health Link allows consumers to search individual and family plans to figure out which doctors participate in particular plans. The directory also allows consumers to find a new doctor by ZIP code, last name or specialty and then see which marketplace insurance plans the doctor accepts.

Previously, consumers searching for a health insurance plan on the marketplace, also called a health insurance exchange, had to go to the websites of each health insurance carrier for this information. A major goal of the new directory was to address user-friendliness concerns on D.C. Health Link, officials said.

Beyond being clunky, brokers and consumers said the carrier directories often included incorrect or disconnected phone numbers, doctors who were retired or no longer practicing in the area and incorrect information about a doctor's practice area.

D.C. Health Link said its Standing Advisory Board reviewed the problem and recommended the new online capabilities. Earlier this year, the health exchange also adopted recommendations to add new consumer protection standards to improve the accuracy of plan provider directories.

“Our customers need accurate information about doctors participating in different health plans,” said Mila Kofman, executive director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, in a statement. “Doctor information is as critical as how much people pay for coverage."

The directory is only available on the individual marketplace but officials said future updates are expected to add the tool to the small business coverage.