Slow Start To Health Care Exchange, Officials Urge Patience

Officials are hoping Hoosiers won't get discouraged and not sign up for insurance after a rocky start that included a frozen website and online error messages.

healthcare

Photo: healthcare.gov

The health exchange website has been stalled. Error messages say too many people are trying to access the site.

The health care exchanges went online this week, but a lot of people hoping to sign up for insurance were greeted by wait messages or error messages.

But Brian Tabor, vice-president of the Indiana Hospital Association, is urging Hoosiers not to get discouraged.

“We’ve got  six months for people to sign up during this open enrollment, and not only that there will be an open enrollment period every year as we move forward,” he says.

Tabor has a particular interest in getting the uninsured to sign up for healthcare in the new marketplace. One of the things the Affordable Care Act did was reduce payments to providers – hospitals being the majority.

In Indiana the reduction amounts to $4 billion over 10 years. Essentially those dollars are being held to help pay for the uninsured to get coverage.

“So what we have here is money that would normally flow to hospitals through the Medicare program that is now kind of at risk and its dependent upon people signing up for insurance. So we have a lot riding on people getting signed up as soon as possible,” Tabor says.

People who sign up by December 15 will be eligible to receive benefits beginning January 1 but the open enrollment period extends through March 31.

People who do not have insurance in 2014 will have to pay a fine of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child.

Sara Wittmeyer

Sara Wittmeyer is the News Bureau Chief for WFIU and WTIU. Sara has more than a decade of experience as a news reporter and previously served with KBIA at the University of Missouri, WNKU at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY, and at WCPO News in Cincinnati.

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