Seems like the world is upside down, at least in Washington. Congressional Republicans are still battling to cut Obamacare and millions of Americans are reaching out to learn about how to enroll in the new health insurance system.
For those who haven’t tumbled down the rabbit hole, here’s where the federal Obamacare health exchange stands now.
8.6 million people visited the Obamacare site Healthcare.Gov since Tuesday and if you were one of them, you know the system had problems. This is the site that services Americans whose states declined to create their own healthcare exchanges. The administration considers the kickoff week a success. One third of the people who reached the site actually began the application process, 406,000 callers talked with staffers in the call center and 225,000 used the online chats system.
Yet, the technical difficulties with the website are a challenge. Plans this weekend sound very much like what New Yorkers hear about weekend subway repairs and delays. Part of the system will shut down for part of the time. In the case of Healthcare.gov, the section of the site that allows you to apply will go dark in what’s described as “non-peak hours.” The call center will still be available throughout the night.
The system upgrades include:
- More space for people to actually get on the system
- Additional technicians working around the clock to identify and fix problems.
- More representatives available at the hotline
- A fix to allow people to enter the system more quickly
You have until December 15th to sign up for one of the insurance plans to get benefits starting January 2014. The sign-up program runs through March 31, 2014. It’s anticipated that glitches in the federal and state programs will be worked out by then.