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Health Care Exchange Website Issues
ALBANY -- New York's health care exchange website was still sluggish for some Wednesday. Visitors were met with error messages, and navigators had to cancel appointments because they were unable to receive log-in codes.
Vicki Michaels is one of five hundred navigators statewide ready to help those looking to shop for insurance. "It's disappointing that's for sure," she said.
Since the insurance marketplace was scheduled to open, Michaels has had to cancel about a dozen appointments.
"I had one business where he wants to enroll all his employees so that has a big impact," she said. "All of those employees have to wait."
If you're exploring the website yourself, you may be able to sign up for insurance. Out of the $370 million of federal money used to set it up, and test it, people like Michaels have been designated to navigate all the confusion.
"Folks have been very understanding and this is a brand-new system, and I don't think anyone anticipated ten million people hitting the site yesterday," Michaels said.
Most people who have insurance plans don't need to worry. The uninsured do. Rest may help remedy the congested website -- though many are eager to see what it looks like. "Any moment I can be on," Michaels said. "I'm just waiting!
In response to the issues on the marketplace, NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore sent CBS6 the following statement which said New York experienced the highest level of activity of any state, and some have been able to connect. "Since the launch of the New York State of Health marketplace, more than 12 thousand business owners and individuals from across the State have shopped," Frescatore said. The executive director said the site now has nearly 30 million views, and technicians have doubled the site's capacity.
Until all the glitches are fixed, navigators "could talk to folks and help them get an idea of what it could be when we can get in to the system," Michaels said.
A run-down website doesn't mean there are no remedies for insurance plan shoppers. Michaels can show shoppers how much their insurance could cost on the four "tiers" of coverage, and how much you could save with subsidies.
When you get through to the exchanges, "you will see the various plans that would be offered to you on the website on the marketplace you would actually be able to go in and do research on these," Michaels said.
A navigator must remain impartial but can steer you in the right direction based on what you want and what you need to be covered.
"I cannot say this company is better than another one but I can provide folks with a way to figure out what is best for them," Michaels said. "If it's cost, let's pick the cheapest one. If you have a doctor in network that you want, let's look and see what's in that one."