Affordable Care Act
5:22 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Federal Health Exchanges Go Online

An empty Mcgregor Clinic as the health care exchanges go online nationwide. Officials expect more people to sign up as the end date for open enrollment approaches.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WGCU

    

The federal government’s health care exchange, the online marketplace where Floridians can compare and shop for health care policies, is up and running.

Tuesday was the official launch of this key part of the Affordable Care Act nationwide.

Bryce Aaron, a health exchange navigator at the McGregor Clinic in Fort Myers, is one of 13 navigators in Southwest Florida hired by the federal government to help people eligible for the exchanges enroll for health care insurance.

Aaron said he wasn’t real busy on the first day of the online exchanges

“Only a couple folks called this morning so I just spoke to them--didn’t enroll anyone, just general questions,” he said.

Aaron said the government shutdown, which also went into effect Oct. 1, might be making people hesitant to sign up private insurance through the federal program.

“People are concerned obviously if this is a federal program and they are hearing that the government has shut down--they are wondering what implications that means for the new Affordable Care Act,” he said.

Aaron said even though he has yet to enroll someone, the online marketplace itself is getting a lot of traffic.

“What I was looking at most recently they were kind of blogging that ‘you know sorry please be patient that we are a little overwhelmed,’” he said.

There have also been reports that the website, healthcare.gov, has had some temporarily glitches.

President Obama told NPR on Monday that he “absolutely” expected glitches within the first three months of open enrollment. The enrollment period ends March 31st.