First day of Health Insurance Exchange enrollment full of glitches

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SARASOTA FL--October 1st is the first day to sign up for the Affordable Healthcare Act Health Insurance Market Exchange but that process came with many glitches.

"I tried enrolling someone and see what the options were there but the website was very slow.  I was not able to get through the entire thing," said Lynne Thorp, the director of The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida. She's responsible for training "navigators", the people certified to assisting residents with the Health Insurance Market Exchange enrollment process. 

"I expected there to be some glitches and some capacity issues," said Thorp.

And, her expectations were right. For a good portion of Tuesday, those who went to to see what insurance options were available, instead got an error message saying the site was at capacity and they should try again later.

"I'm excited by that because that means everyone is going to the website and checking things out.  I'm sure they anticipated it being busy on the first day and the first week; it will get better," added Thorp.

Officials say the market place is a one stop shop for those who want health insurance and after the initial rush, the uninsured will be able to go to the website and see what affordable health insurance options are available. And for those without internet access, Application Counselors from the Sarasota Health Department are ready to assist people with the enrollment process which they say can get complicated.

"There are a hundred plus plans that are available with four different levels of coverage," said Application Counselors, Shawnta Zackery.

During October the certified application councilors will be at area libraries and holding several other enrollment events. The group says they will be breaking down the plan to make sure residents get the right coverage.

"The market place is really going to allow individuals to compare all the health care options from apples to apples and we are here to help them do that, said Zackery.

For those who sign up at the exchange, coverage is expected to begin on January 1st, 2014 but the enrollment process will continue until March 2014.