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Officials Working to Fix Technical Glitches With Health Care Exchanges

10-21-13

By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
NJ Today

President Obama says no one is more frustrated than he is with the computer glitches that have made it difficult for many Americans to sign up for health insurance via the online exchanges, a key part of the Affordable Care Act.

“We are doing everything we can possibly do to get the websites working better, faster, sooner. We’ve got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address the problems,” Obama said.

But even with all the problems, 20 million people visited the website, according to the Obama administration, which reported many success stories.

“I was able to find a policy I am thrilled with, saving $150 a month, and much lower deductibles than my previous policy that I held through my small business,” said Janice Baker, a Delaware resident.

Closer to home in South Brunswick, Congressman Rush Holt held a forum about the health care law, also known as Obamacare, with Dr. Jaime Torres, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holt also acknowledged the problems with the website, but said many key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are working well.

“Removing lifetime caps and annual caps and denial because of children’s preexisting conditions, providing preventive care, with no co-pay and equality of women’s health care– all those things well received,” Holt said.

“Close to half a million people have created an account and we want to make sure they get enrolled soon. Also here in the Garden State we know that many people are enrolling in Medicaid expansion,” said Torres.

Many have enrolled via paper applications. Final numbers haven’t been released yet. But if the computer glitches aren’t fixed soon, some advocates fear it will keep people away.

“Obviously the marketplace is not working yet in terms of accessibility which is a huge disappointment. It’s a disappointment to the people who are trying to enroll and hopefully it won’t undermine the purpose of it, particularly getting in the young people and the healthy people who we need it to get it to work over time,” said Linda Schwimmer of the New Jersey Health Care Institute.

President Obama says IT specialists are helping to fix the website. Enrollment is open through March.