Insurance Shoppers Find Delays Online
Millions of Americans tried to sign-up for healthcare on the federal government’s website Tuesday, but many of them were stymied by technical glitches.Tuesday was the first day the uninsured could shop for health coverage on the new online marketplaces, but many experienced delays from a website overloaded by traffic. The federal government said it is working to resolve the problem.
The Greater Phoenix Urban League got calls on opening day from people who wanted help signing up for either expanded Medicaid, known in Arizona as AHCCCS, or choosing a plan on the marketplace, but it is not clear if the federal website, Healthcare.gov, will be working properly when those people come in for assistance.
The website is where people can buy insurance plans and see if they qualify for tax credits. The Urban League’s David Aguirre said the site was slowed down Tuesday morning.
“The application itself is taking a long time,” Aguirre said. “And they have messages in there for people to know, that everyone that it is logging on and taking more time than usual.”
Mesa resident Gene Judge was among those trying to sign on. She said she
tried to get insurance for her unemployed son who has spinal bifida.
"We couldn’t get on. The website just wasn’t working," Judge said. "We waited 20 minutes and then it said, 'Okay, you can sign on now."
Judge said she wasted more than three hours Tuesday without any progress.
Nearly 3 million people had visited Healthcare.gov by Tuesday afternoon. Problems with the site were recorded in California, Illinois and many other states.
Ultimately, Aguirre’s organization hopes to help 50,000 Arizonans sign up. Statewide there are some 1 million people without health insurance. Enrollment opened on Oct. 1, but new insurance plans will not take effect until Jan. 1.
KJZZ's Jude Joffe-Block and Peter O'Dowd contributed to this report.
Updated 10/1/2013 at 5:17 p.m.