Health Care Reform Act begins

By Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert, adavis@kprc.com
Published On: Oct 01 2013 07:58:55 PM CDT

October 1, 2013: Beginning today uninsured Americans can sign up for insurances through an online market place. Amy Davis reports.

HOUSTON -

The insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act is officially open for business.

Starting today, uninsured Americans can sign up for health insurance through the new website; but if you're one of the millions who tried to log into Healthcare.gov today, you probably noticed a glitch.

Some politicians say the fact that the website is jammed from so many people trying to access it is a good thing.

"Today is opening day," said democratic state senator Rodney Ellis.  "This is a happy day."

Ellis downplayed the glitches that kept consumers waiting, those hoping to see the prices and plans available to them under the new Affordable Care Act.

"There are always glitches in starting up any program," said Ellis. 

Reynaldo Gutierrez, 55, showed up at Houston's downtown library to get online and find coverage for his family.

"To me, it's very hard because I don't know how to work with the computer," Gutierrez said. 

But even with the help of trained Navigators, neither Gutierrez nor any of the other consumers could get any information from the system. In Washington, President Obama said the delays would be fixed.

"Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it," the President said. "I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads, or threatening to shut down the company if they didn't."

When the system is fully operational, the city of Houston has pledged to do its part to help enroll consumers who need assistance. That includes training 55 enrollment specialists and providing the city office space to set up shop.

At the 1-800 number set up to help consumers without computer access one federal employee said they were told the delays and glitches at healthcare.gov should be fixed in about three days. In the meantime, some health insurance providers are listing the plans available on their own websites if you want to shop around before then.

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