One week after the launch of the federal health insurance marketplace, extensive troubles remain with the site. For several days, healthcare.gov asked for patience due to the high volume of visitors. Now, the online enrollment system is frequently down for upgrades.
Still, education efforts continue around the metro area. During a help session at the Omaha Public Library on Oct. 7, one attendee told us she was not surprised to find the online marketplace was inaccessible.
Jody Durand's son recently turned 26 and is no longer eligible to be a dependent on her health insurance. Talking about the website's troubles, Durand said, "What did we think was going to happen? Really, when you think of how often any website you get on, how often do things crash or it doesn't work? I honestly probably think there's a chance it won't work for a long time."
The session leader did not seem concerned about the site's hiccups. Marketplace Nebraska Workplace Coordinator Doug Carmichael said, "We don't worry about what's happening at the federal level. We're not worried about what's happening at the state level. What we're trying to do is grassroots level. How this affects you as an individual or your family."
Those attending Carmichael's help session asked about things like pre-existing conditions, the variety of plans offered, navigating the subsidies, and adjusting insurance after a major life event such as a marriage or significant career change. A few people filled out a paper application to get the process started while the site is down.
Several more help sessions are planned at the library. These are expected to extend into November.
Individualized Help with the Health Insurance Marketplace:
Mondays, Oct. 21 and 28, 10 a.m. at W. Dale Clark Main Library
Tuesdays, Oct. 8, 15, 22 and 29, noon at Willa Cather Branch
Tuesdays, Oct. 8, 15, 22 and 29, 4 p.m. at Charles B. Washington Branch
Wednesdays, Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30, noon at Florence Branch
Thursdays, Oct. 10, 17, 24 and 31, 3 p.m. at South Omaha Library
The Affordable Care Act: Small Businesses & the Self-Employed
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6 p.m. at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. at Millard Branch
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has 3 free information sessions planned. They run from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Norfolk: Tuesday, Oct. 15, Divots Conference Center, 4200 West Norfolk Ave.
Lincoln: Wednesday, Oct. 16, Embassy Suites, 1040 P St.
Omaha: Thursday, Oct. 17, Ramada Plaza Convention Center 3321 S. 72nd St.