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Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

More Than 110,000 Signed Up For Coverage Through Healthcare.gov In November

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The site also allows people to almost instantaneously determine if they are eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor, or federal subsidies to buy private health plans. So far, only about 40 percent of the 2.3 million people found eligible to shop in the exchanges have qualified for subsidies -- far lower than the 90 percent projected in the first year by the Congressional Budget Office. Federal officials said Tuesday night they could not explain the discrepancy.

Kelly said most people have not complained about the high deductibles in many cheaper plans because they are relieved simply to have coverage or are already accustomed to seeing them.

“Nine times out of ten, people come away pretty satisfied,” he said.

He said he is worried, though, about reports that insurers may be getting incomplete or inaccurate enrollment information from healthcare.gov. As a result, he is telling clients to call insurers to confirm their enrollment.

That situation is improving, but more work is still needed, said Karen Ignagni, CEO of the trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Language Barriers

In El Paso, Texas, with one of the nation’s highest rates of uninsured, navigators said healthcare.gov is working much better, but they still periodically hit glitches such as frozen screens. Delays in the launch of a Spanish-language web portal have also been a problem.

Because of language barriers and little understanding about insurance, it can take up to two hours to get people enrolled, said Jennifer Buschick, program director at Enroll El Paso. Her organization helped more than 400 people fill out paper applications and many are still waiting to find out if they are eligible for subsidies.

In Oklahoma, one of many states where state leaders are hostile to the law, navigator Chad Austin said it’s been a relief to walk people through healthcare.gov without getting stuck.

“Some people are finding the plans too expensive and choosing not to enroll, but the majority are finding the prices affordable and are pleased with the results,” said Austin, who works at Little Dixie Community Action Agency in Idabel, Okla.

Jan Plummer, a navigator in Waynesville, N.C., said the website is mostly working these days, and when clients have an email address and know their Social Security number, she can get them enrolled in under an hour. She said most people she works with are surprised at how affordable the new coverage can be with subsidies, or their income is so low that even a $20 to $40 monthly premium is seen as too expensive. She worked with a retired school teacher whose monthly premium increased from $650 a month to $700 a month but the new plan had better benefits.

Tue, Dec 10 2013

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