Online traffic increasing as ACA deadline approaches

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – In October, the Affordable Care Act Marketplace opened to a less-than-stellar reception. Website traffic made it difficult, and for some people impossible, to sign up for health insurance through the online marketplace.

Since maintenance was done to Healthcare.gov at the end of 2013 navigators have been able to enroll more people.

MDWise Outreach Consultant Jenna Strahm said the site is seeing more traffic as the March 31 open enrollment deadline approaches.

“If people are going on to enroll and they can’t get through the first time try at a different time in the day,” Strahm said. “You can always do it over the phone. Just be persistent and keep trying.”

Strahm helps patients of both IU Health Arnett and Franciscan Saint Elizabeth Health enroll in the marketplace. She said she does not know the exact number of people she has enrolled, but says she has helped dozens of people in the application process.

Navigators at Riggs Community Health Center in Lafayette said they have enrolled 137 people or families in the marketplace, and have helped more than 350 people during the application process.

Strahm said if you are still uninsured by March 31 you could face a tax.

“They look to see if you were without coverage for more than three months,” Strahm said. “If that’s the case the penalty is $95 or one percent of your income, whichever is higher.”

However, those who lose their insurance can enroll after the deadline.

“With people who might lose their coverage in the middle of the year, because of losing a job, or getting married or moving, they will be able to get a special enrollment period,” Strahm said.

Open enrollment for 2015 will begin Nov. 15.

Riggs will hold enrollment sessions every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hartford Street location.

Click the links for more information on the Affordable Care Act or MDWise.

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