Reality Check: Enrollment Glitches
People trying to sign up for the government's new Affordable Health Care continue to be met with computer problems.
The healthcare.gov website was taken down over the weekend for scheduled maintenance and more improvements. Today, the problems are the same, a web site that doesn't work.
Even more troubling for navigators and application counselors paid for with federal grants to help people sign up.
Steven Riungu is a certified marketplace application counselor, hired with federal grant money by Western North Carolina Community Health Services.
Scott Parker, WNC Community Health Services, "both our existing patients as well as people in the community are able to utilize WNCCHS to sign up for the marketplace insurance."
But right now, no one's signing up because of glitches with the marketplace.
"We've not yet been able to sign anybody up. You get to a point in the marketplace enrollment process where the glitch exists."
Western North Carolina Community Health Services is one of several locations we visited in Asheville that have been designated as sites where people can get assistance signing up.
"I was trying to get information on it."
Nellie Smith came to the new Blue Cross Blue Shield office on Hendersonville Road, it held a grand opening Saturday with trained specialists to assist with Obamacare. Today, Smith says, they're unable to provide details about the pricing and government subsidies.
Nellie Smith, "they gave me a quote, they told me to come back once the federal site was back up and they would see what else they could do. But actually I was just looking for prices."
The computer problems have affected a wide range of agencies with navigators and counselors.
The Care Share Health Alliance in Raleigh says only one person in the state was able to gain access to enroll by phone, one completed a paper application, and none have completed enrollment on line.
Pisgah Legal Services, and Council On Aging, are part of a statewide consortium that's sharing a nearly $2-million grant to help people with enrollment. So far, neither has signed up anyone and both are still training staff but they say, there's still plenty of time to work through the glitches.
"We've been told that they are working to increase the band width the speed with which people can access."
The consortium has set up a call center in Raleigh, that number is 855-733-3711. People can call there to make appointments with the Council on Aging or Pisgah Legal Services or other navigators to get enrolled by the March 31st deadline.