Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
Glitches on First Day of Affordable Care Act Enrollment
FRANKLIN COUNTY -- Many people in southern Illinois who tried to research insurance options on Tuesday found that the system wasn't working properly. The site was crashing before they could set up an account.
When you go to the state website, Get Covered Illinois, you'll answer a few questions. It will then help decide if you qualify for Medicaid or for the new marketplace. Next, it directs you to either the state Medicaid site or to the federal healthcare marketplace site.
"The fourth time I couldn't get on," said Tony Leone of Benton. "I got the same response that they were too busy."
Leone tried to log into the insurance marketplace early Tuesday morning. He found that he couldn't set up an account.
"Went through the whole thing, passwords and everything," said Leone.
Leone is 58-years-old, living on disability, and dealing with several health issues.
"It cost $444,000 to be in the hospital in March," said Leone. "So it can get a little pricey."
Leone lost his insurance in August. His wife was just weeks away from getting coverage for the family at her new job, before she died unexpectedly.
"That was my biggest panic when my wife passed away," said Leone.
His pre-existing conditions have made insurance out of his price range. He found plans at more than $500 a month.
While Leone says he didn't vote for Preseident Obama, he's now excited about the possibility of cheaper insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"It's going to be actually $75 a month based on my income," said Leone. "Maybe $130 a month starting next year."
Other people on our News 3 Facebook page don't believe the new health care law will help them save.
Terry Smith wrote his insurance will be over $400 a month. Still, Smith tried to use the federal website on Tuesday and couldn't create an account. Another poster, Micah Mills, plans to check back to the site when internet traffic slows down.
That's an idea shared by Leone. He's taking a small break from the online marketplace.
"I'd wait a week or two," said Leone. "There's a lot of people out there. I'm actually going to stay away from it."
Get Covered Illinois says more than 65,000 people had visited the site by Tuesday afternoon. The group has also launched a Help Desk that is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The Help Desk can be reached at (866) 311-1119.
Coverage under the new insurance plans will begin on January 1. Enrollees have until December 15 to sign up and still receive coverage at the start of next year.
Wind: 3 MPH
Humidity: 67 %