Health Websites Launch With Glitches

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's health insurance exchange was a tad late getting out of the starting gate but was up and running Tuesday.

But officials with Nevada Health Link, the state's online portal, say consumers will need to be patient as bugs continue to be worked out.

About 300 people were browsing the website at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, minutes after the exchange opened.

Officials say insurance carriers are still verifying that benefits quoted on the website are accurate.

Additionally, an online calculator to determine out-of-pocket costs is not yet functioning and a Spanish language portal won't be ready until November.

Tuesday is opening day for online insurance exchanges around the country. They are part of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law that requires everyone to have insurance by 2014.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - On the first day of the enrollment period for the online insurance marketplaces that are a key part of the health care overhaul, people who are trying to register are running into problems.

The system is struggling to handle the wave of new consumers, and it's apparently being overwhelmed by a combination of high demand and technical glitches.

A woman logging in from Texas and a man in southern Illinois say they ran into similar glitches. They couldn't get past the security questions while trying to set up their personal accounts through Kimberly Shockley, a self-employed CPA, already has health insurance, but is looking for a better plan. Mike Weaver, a self-employed photographer, is uninsured.

State-operated sites are also seeing glitches. Rhode Island's site opened as scheduled, but it was quickly overwhelmed by visitors and went down. Officials in New York say there were problems caused by the 2 million visits to their website in the first 90 minutes after launch.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


RENO, NV -- A major sticking point for lawmakers, Obamacare, will still move forward despite the government shutting down. One new aspect under Obamacare: health exchanges or co-ops allowing you to shop around for the best insurance. Open enrollment begins October 1. If you're one of nearly 48 million people without health insurance, you can begin looking at what's available.

Officials, however, are urging residents to wait before enrolling. As with many debuts, there are still some kinks the website needs to work out, and with the shutdown, this makes it even more difficult for the government to correct those glitches.

You still have until December 15 if you want to be covered by January. Deductibles and co-pays will vary but the administration says coverage will be, at most, 100 dollars a month, and that's if you qualify for tax breaks and subsidies based on your income.

A local insurance agency says both small and large businesses will have to pay too, but the premiums they'll be paying for their employees will be much lower. It could also help with Nevada's high unemployment rate.

"There are people out there who work simply because they need benefits and the only place you can get them before when you're uninsurable in Nevada was through an employer," Jake Young, Individual and family specialist of Health Benefits Associates, Inc., said. "There's another option. The Nevada Health Insurance Exchange is going to provide guaranteed issued insurance for people so they don't have to necessarily have to go to work anymore."

For those without jobs or who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, some for the first time, will have another option.

"It's a really good thing. For so many years I've been telling people, 'I'm sorry your health insurance has declined you, or your coverage is several hundred dollars a month' and they can't afford it," Young said. "Now, both of those things can be wiped out with one sweep."

On March 31, 2014, open enrollment ends and penalties begin. If you don't have health insurance by then, you could be slapped with a fine.

If you're still unsure about your options, Nevada Health Benefits Associates, Inc. will be hosting a health fair in front of Sam's Club on Kietzke Lane Monday from 12:30 3:30 p.m.

To look at your options, visit the Silver State Health Exchange website below.