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Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Many Consumers Report Improvements With Healthcare.gov

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Not everyone was successful, however. Philip McHugh, 61, of Durham, N.C., said that even though he was able to reset his online application, he still received an error message each time he tried to submit it. “This website is a piece of junk,” said McHugh, whose current policy expires at the end of the year. He said if he can’t get on the website, he may have to buy an exchange policy from an insurance agent. He worries that he may not find as good a deal. He said he tried phoning a call center but the operator was unable to help him.

Fabienne Pierre, a navigator employed by the Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County & Treasure Coast in Florida, said she too has noticed the website is working better after weeks of difficulties. “I have had luck with completing applications and viewing the eligibilities and plans,” she said.

Pamela Walker, director of the St. Louis City Health Department, said Monday she is relieved both personally and professionally that the site is finally working as promised. She was able to help get her son, Nathan, 32, enrolled in a subsidized plan that will cost him a little over $100 a month. He has been in a catastrophic-type plan with a high deductible that covered little upfront. She said the entire process took 65 minutes.

Walker said with more than 50,000 uninsured city residents, the website is vital. She had been worried about publicizing enrollment events given the glitches. “I did not know what to tell people before, but now I am feeling good,” she said.

Charlene Ripley, 57, of Pawnee, Okla., actually had completed an application in early October but had been trying unsuccessfully to change her estimated 2014 income on the form for several weeks. She tried fixing it online, calling a healthcare.gov operator and sending messages through the online chat feature — all with no luck.

But on Sunday, she hit the reset button on her old application and was able to fill out a new one. By lowering her estimated 2014 income, she qualifies for a higher subsidy to lower her insurance costs. “The website was so much faster and glitch-free … so now my new application is complete and I am just shopping for the best plan now,” she said.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Mon, Dec 02 2013

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