Central Texans still experiencing problems with ACA website


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist John Fisher

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE


Posted on October 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 22 at 10:21 AM

AUSTIN -- President Obama is pledging to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act's website. At a White House briefing Monday, he acknowledged the launch has been anything but smooth. So far 19 million people have logged on to healthcare.gov only to find error messages, broken calculators, wrong information, and long delays.

A team of tech experts took the site down over the weekend to work on the glitches. The updated site promises to let you preview health plans and prices without having to fill out a ton of information first.

If the site still fails, the government said people should sign up over the phone.

Even with the improvements experts say the site won't be able to handle the volume. People like Cory Henderson who were trying to sign up in Austin Monday experienced difficulties.

"This is what I have now, 80 percent," said Henderson as he tried to sign up for coverage.

Website problems have plagued the Affordable Care Act since it went online Oct. 1.

It's taken Henderson three-and-a-half weeks just to get the ACA website to remember his password. On Monday with the help of Insure Central Texas, he was able to see his health care options for the first time.

"What concerns me is there are so many people out there who don't have health care coverage who are going to wait until the last minute," said Henderson. "What's going to happen to this website if they're already having issues with it now?" 

"I don't know what's causing it, but there are definitely issues with the website," said Elizabeth Colvin, the director of Insure Central Texas. "Information you enter doesn't stick or doesn't take, and you have to reenter it for some people."

Insure Central Texas is a Foundation Communities program that helps people get started on the federal insurance exchange either by getting them online or by answering questions.

Shannon and Mark Rashap had questions. She's self-employed and pays out of pocket for health insurance.

"I spend a significant amount of money my business earns every month on preventative health care," said Rashap.

That’s money the Rashaps would like to put back into their business or retirement fund. Besides the technical glitches, their biggest concern with the ACA website is what they say is a lack of information.

"I've literally been waiting for Oct. 1 since this spring, and I'm still not able to find the information," said Rashap. "I'm not even able to get into the first page. I feel like the carrot is there, and I can't actually go and do anything with it."

Open enrollment extends into March. If you need health insurance through the exchange and want that insurance to start by the first of the year, you need to have your plan selected and first premium paid by Dec. 15.

Go here for more of KVUE's coverage on the Affordable Care Act.