ObamaCare insurance rollout met with glitches - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

ObamaCare insurance rollout met with glitches


Chippewa County (WQOW)- Despite the government shutdown, enrollment for ObamaCare debuts.  But it's been far from a smooth launch.  On Tuesday, you could begin the process of signing up and shopping around for insurance.  While anyone can take advantage, the process is designed to help those who don't have insurance right now.

Tuesday morning, hours after enrollment opened for insurance exchanges, there's not one person in line or at a computer signing up inside the Chippewa County Department of Human Services.  There are 7,000 who will need to sign up in the county.  They're uninsured or are being kicked off BadgerCare.

"So far it has been quiet.  We've had no walk-ins," points out Economic Support Manager Bobbie Jaeger.  "However, the website where people can access has been down most of the morning."

The website was down through Tuesday afternoon.  There is a 1-800 number you can call.  But operators can't help you sign up for coverage until you have a username and password.  And you can only get those from the website.

Eventually, you could get through online, but had to wait 15 minutes.  Once you logged in to shop, you had to wait again.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services calls it a nationwide problem.  Those in charge locally say there isn't a big rush.

"People know that they have time," explains Jaeger.  "They are hopefully being thoughtful in the process about what makes most sense for themselves and their families."

Chippewa County has two workers and a certified counselor standing by to offer help.  Most workers are still in the process of being trained and will receive their certification in about two weeks.

"There is a lot of information available so I think we are in good shape to help people.  It is a pretty simple process once they get on the marketplace," Jaeger says.  "I don't think they will have a whole lot of trouble navigating it."

Eau Claire County reported a few walk-ins Tuesday and has been taking calls from residents with questions.  You have until December 15th to sign up for coverage if you want it to kick in January 1st.  Chippewa County says since it's a federal website, there's no way the county can track how many local residents were trying to access it Tuesday.

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