Website woes for Affordable Care Act
Major access issues are still a problem for people trying to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
An estimated 15 million Americans have logged onto Healthcare.gov to try to sign up for insurance. But many are finding the system is down or doesn't work properly.
It's been an exercise in frustration for John Tankersley. He's been sitting in the same chair, staring at the same computer for a very long time.
"At this point, I figure I've put in 25 to 30 hours just trying to get signed, get through the sign-up process," Tankersley explained.
Two and a half weeks into the launch of Healthcare.gov, the website for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and like many others, Tankersley still can't get it to work properly.
Even with multiple attempts online and by phone, he can't create an account.
"It is a systemwide failure of the website. It's inexcusable," he said, "and it's really just sad that you know, people can't get the help that they need."
John is a stay-at-home dad. His wife is a school nurse whose employer doesn't offer her health insurance.
The couple was excited to get affordable healthcare for their family. But error messages, wait signs and computer glitches keep giving them grief.
Even tech experts are giving the website bad marks.
"It looks like the people who built this had never built a commercial database software application before," said Luke Chung, the president and founder of a software development firm.
Eyewitness News found many local "navigators", listed under "local help" on the website, which are supposed to help people in person. But we discovered in several of the locations, people aren't certified yet to help or simply haven't begun their programs.
Many told John to try again in November. December 15th is the deadline to sign up to receive health benefits next year.
"I don't know what subsidies I'll get. I don't know what plan to pick. I mean, I haven't even seen the plans yet and I can't make an informed decision because I don't know what the subsidy is our family may or may not get," Tankersley said.
For now, he's just waiting and hoping for a fix.
15 states created their own health exchanges and those websites seem to be working better.
Indiana chose not to create its own exchange.
Experts say people trying to sign up may want to wait until the start of next month, when more help is out there.
Your Health, Your Choice - Learn more about plans available under the Affordable Care Act and see if you qualify.