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New website provides alternative for frustrated insurance hunters

Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 |
New website provides alternative for frustrated insurance hunters story image
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's an alternative for people frustrated by HealthCare.gov.

It's a website called TheHealthSherpa.com, and it's helping to guide people through a difficult process.

A Sherpa is a person of Tibetan descent, living near the Himalayan mountains, well known for helping mountain climbers to some of the highest summits in the world.

More than a month after it was launched, many have found enrolling through HealthCare.gov can seem just as difficult.

But three twenty-somethings in San Francisco created a website that can help guide you through the process.

Local website developer Jeff Wendland says it's a remarkable improvement.

"It's very user friendly, where the healthcare.gov website is very confusing and not user friendly," Wendland said.

Within seconds Health Sherpa can show you the plans available in your area, along with the prices.

"You don't have to create an account, you don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops, and provide a bunch of private data to a website that's not secure," Wendland said.

The San Francisco team built Health Sherpa over the course of a few nights and weekends, using data buried inside the government's website built by high-priced contractors--and finding a simple way to present it to users.

Health Sherpa can even calculate the price of your plans after tax credits--and while you can't enroll in a plan directly, it does provide links and contact information so you can enroll without ever using HealthCare.gov.

"It's nowhere near the scope of HealthCare.gov, but it does illustrate that if you know what you're doing, you can make a great website that works," Wendland said.

Health Sherpa does not connect directly to the government website, so you cannot use it to apply for subsidies.

If you want to check out the Health Sherpa website for yourself, just click here.
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