Since the launch of the national healthcare exchange and healthcare.gov on October 1st, uninsured people across the country have tried to sign up for the individual mandate. But there have been a lot of problems, especially with glitches on the website. So what issues are people facing locally?
Partnership Community Health Center in Menasha has 5 application counselors to help people enroll in the National Healthcare Exchange. Patricia Sarvela told FOX 11 it hasn't been easy for them since October 1st.
"It has been a rocky road," said Sarvela.
For example, last week a woman came in for help. For three hours a counselor took her through the online application. Things were going well, albeit slowly, until the very end.
"And we got a message that said, 'we're sorry you're application cannot be submitted at this time, please come back in 24 hours," said Sarvela.
According to Sarvela, the center has gotten hundreds of inquiries about the healthcare exchange, but she told us so far none of the counselors have been able to sign anyone up using healthcare.gov."
Insurance broker Chris Hanson told FOX 11 she hasn't been able to enroll any clients either. She said in Wisconsin the success rate is low.
"Maybe 20-30 policies in the state have been sold," said Hanson.
Sarvela told us the national healthcare hotline has glitches too.
"When I pushed the number for Spanish it spoke to me in Spanish at first and then the prompts were in English," explained Sarvela.
So for now the center is meeting with people to answer pre-application questions.
"What's a premium? What's a deductible? What do I need to know?" explained Sarvela.
Hanson recommends using the Kaiser Family Foundation's online calculator to see if you qualify for subsidies or tax breaks on the exchange. If you don't qualify, she said don't wait for healthcare.gov to be fixed.
"We can write them directly with an insurance carrier for January 1st outside of the exchange," Hanson explained.
In the meantime both women are hopeful the government can fix these problems in the next few weeks.
"We still have time," said Hanson.
For more information on the website, or how to sign up: head back to the fox11online.com home page and click on the healthcare banner.
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