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.
“Most people are pleased,” she said.
In Salt Lake City, Lloyd Coleman, an insurance broker, said fewer than 20 percent of people he’s worked with on healthcare.gov now face a problem enrolling.
“The system is working much better,” he said.
Some less expensive plans also have limited networks of doctors and hospitals, which concerns consumers who want to see a particular physician. He said some have opted to pay higher premiums to make sure they can continue with that doctor.
“Older, sicker people are generally pleased with the cost, younger and healthier less so,” he 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.
Tue, Dec 10 2013