U.S. health insurance site is better, but not there yet

Roderick Schichtel, 46, University City, speaks with an Affordable Care Act navigator at Spectrum Health Services, Inc., 5201 Haverford Ave., Oct. 1, 2013, the first day people can sign up for coverage under the act. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )
Roderick Schichtel, 46, University City, speaks with an Affordable Care Act navigator at Spectrum Health Services, Inc., 5201 Haverford Ave., Oct. 1, 2013, the first day people can sign up for coverage under the act. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )
Posted: October 05, 2013

Accessing Healthcare.gov was better Thursday - but not for everyone.

"Nothing" was what Kate Kozeniewski found when she logged on to the government's new website for purchasing health insurance.

"When I log on, I make it to the point where it asks the security questions, and then it says there is an error in the system," said Kozeniewski, program coordinator with the Philadelphia-based Resources for Human Development (RHD), which is providing health insurance enrollment assistance in 10 counties in Pennsylvania.

She said the next screen that pops up explains that there are a lot of visitors on the site and that "we will send you to the login page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience."

In Harrisburg, at another enrollment assistance program, Jim Willshier's luck was a little bit better.

"I can say that I have had more success with the website today compared to yesterday," e-mailed Willshier, director of policy for the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers. "I didn't get far into the website after logging in, but that was because I've been fielding a lot of calls and meetings."

On Thursday, RHD workers were still frustrated. When asked if accessing and navigating Healthcare.gov was any better, Laura Line, the agency's corporate assistant director for health care, e-mailed back, "No change."

Willshier was busy in meetings and hadn't visited the website. But he suspected that the association's counselors were still struggling, because they were urging clients to wait a few days before signing up.

"A lot of appointments people are making are either for later this week or next week," he said.

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