The first day of open enrollment for the insurance marketplace didn't go very smoothly. The marketplace was established by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which became law in 2010. Now, consumers are able to go shopping for insurance coverage for the first time, if they can get online.
Haley Cassar and Anna Shepherd work at Luigi Bruni in Birmingham. Cassar is 28 years old and already buys her own health insurance. She admits she learned some expensive lessons the first time around.
"Just like car insurance of anything else you buy, I didn't do the legwork to see what my best options were," she said. "I didn't really know what I was looking for and ended up paying $200 a month."
Later, Cassar received some help from her boyfriend and found a plan for $99 a month. However, she says that rate was just raised to $154 a month. She was hoping to get online today at HealthCare.org to shop around and see if there are better deals available in the marketplace.
Ruth to the Rescue stopped at the salon to see if Cassar and Shepherd could get online and start shopping for coverage. They ran into trouble.
"I haven't been able to log in or create an account just yet," said Haley Cassar as the Ruth to the Rescue camera was rolling. When she tried to create an account, she kept getting stuck on the page that asked people to choose some security questions. The Ruth to the Rescue producer tried to start a "live chat", but could not get answers right away.
There were reports nationwide of delays in signing up. Even President Barack Obama acknowledged the rollout wasn't flawless. Although, he said some glitches are to be expected when a new product is rolled out.
"The reason is because more than one million people visited HealthCare.gov before 7 in the morning," said President Obama while making comments on the government shutdown. Once the website catches up both young women are looking forward to getting more information.
"I think its nice that you'll be able to compare and get an idea of what your options are," said stylist Anna Shepherd. "It's like Travelocity for health insurance."
How To Get Started
Here's a link to the website that will eventually help you get started.
I you don't have computer access you can call 1-800-318-2596.
Remember, you need to be signed up by Dec. 15 in order to have your coverage start by Jan. 1. This time around open enrollment will continue through March 31.
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