Four days into the Affordable Care Act enrollment period, Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart can’t say whether anyone has successfully signed up through the online marketplace.
“There were definitely some glitches and there continue to be glitches,” Gerhart said Friday morning during the taping of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press. “In fact, I am unaware of someone who has successfully enrolled through the marketplace to any of these carriers.”
Friday afternoon Gerhart said that remained the case. It’s possible someone successfully enrolled in the online marketplace, but the state Insurance Division isn’t aware of it.
While glitches and computer crashes and long waits for assistance seem to be the bad news of the enrollment period, which began Oct. 1 and will run six months, the good news is the high volume of interest in the federal health care program, said Ken Croken, communications director at Genesis Health in Davenport.
“If the bad news is the computers have ground to a halt, the good news is there’s so much demand on these systems for this service that I believe people will be back,” Croken said. He also suggested there’s a lack of technical help for people trying to enroll because of the federal government shutdown, also in its fourth day.
Gerhart is aware that some Iowans have enrolled in the so-called ObamaCare by working with insurances agents or brokers. He’s heard some people have filed paper applications for the new health care insurance.
He hopes that by next week people will be having better luck with the online system. However, Gerhart said he’s been told enrollment numbers won’t be available from the federal government until November.
Iowans who want ObamaCare coverage beginning Jan. 1 have until Dec. to sign up by going to www.healthcare.gov.
In the meantime, there are a lot of frustrated Iowans out there, he said.
“We’re getting some frustrated Iowans who are talking to us about ‘I’ve been online now for three hours and was bumped out, ‘I’ve called the federal call in number and no one is answering the calls,’” Gerhart said. “We’ve called the federal call number quite successfully a number of times so I’m not really sure where that disconnect is.”
More than a quarter of a million Iowans will qualify for health care tax credits starting next year, according to Families USA.
Most of the newly eligible Iowans will have annual incomes between 200 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or between $47,100 and $94,200 for a family of four. Eligibility for tax credits will be determined by a sliding scale based on income. Iowans with the lowest incomes will receive the most credits.
Iowa Press will air Friday Oct. 4 at 7:30 and at noon Sunday on IPTV and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World. It also is available online beginning Friday evening at www.iptv.org.