Glitches keep millions from logging on to Affordable Care Act online exchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tuesday was supposed to be the day when millions of people could sign up for affordable health care.

But for people in Kansas and Missouri, and for many across the nation, that didn't happen.
        
Heavy web traffic and problems with the federal computer system plagued the launch of health insurance exchanges.
These exchanges are the pillar to President Obama's Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

In Kansas and Missouri, the exchanges are federally operated which had more trouble than the states with state-run systems.

The online exchange is designed to offer the uninsured and those who buy their own health insurance affordable insurance plans. For those who qualify, federal subsidies will help pay for the costs.
     
For many logging on Tuesday, it was their first chance to apply for coverage.

Insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield are offering a warning: the cheapest plan is not necessarily the most affordable plan.

Wayne Powell, Blue Cross Blue Shield's vice president of executive services, cautioned first time customers to consider these questions.
"How much will you pay before your insurance kicks in, what's it going to cost you when you see a doctor and what will your prescriptions going cost you when you need them?" Powell said.

Deborah Franklin, who just recently lost her health insurance, wanted to be the first in line to sign up on the health insurance exchange Tuesday at Swope Park Health Center.

But it turned out she was just about the only one in line.

"I was kind of surprised there weren't more people here," Franklin said.
     
She was one of at least a million people across the nation who tried to sign up Tuesday but walked away with nothing.

The Shepherd Center, in Midtown, who has several certified counselors on hand, said its phones were quiet too and no one arrived in person with questions.

Certified application counselor, Joyce White, said she thought she knew why.
"They just don't know we're here yet," she said.

Customers have until December 15 to sign up for January coverage.

To answer more of your questions or to find out if you qualify for a federal subsidy, log onto http://www.kchealthcarereform.org/

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