UPDATE: Kansas Braces For Opening Of Health Care Exchanges

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

MGN Online

MGN Online

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kansas consumers may be experiencing delays as they go online to buy health insurance coverage in a new federally run marketplace, and one congressman has concluded it was not ready.

The online marketplace is a key part of the federal overhaul of health care, and it's meant to help uninsured Americans find coverage. The latest U.S. Census bureau estimates are that about 358,000 Kansans have no health insurance.

The marketplace website for Kansas was available mid-morning Tuesday, the first day it was open, but a message said enough people were visiting that logging in could take time.

But Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp said when he tried at midnight, he got an error message. Huelskamp is a Republican who strongly opposes the health care overhaul.

Previous story:

Advocates of the health care overhaul have seemingly coalesced around a unified message for Kansas consumers. They urge people not to rush to enroll until glitches in the system are worked out in the coming weeks.

Some Kansas health care groups still have not hired all the "navigators" for which they have been awarded federal grants to explain the plans. Some are still training for many other new hires. Some material like Spanish-language pamphlets ordered in June have not arrived yet.

Enrollment begins Tuesday and consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll if they want their coverage to start in January.

The Kansas Insurance Commissioner urged the public Monday to give the exchanges time to work out the bugs. She says why hurry -- let someone else be the guinea pig.

Yet Rep. Tim Huelskamp attempted to sign into the exchange at midnight. He released several screen shots of what happened, including one with a "system is down" message and another with a security question page lacking questions.

“We have been warned time and time again that ObamaCare is not ready for prime time," Huelskamp said in a statement. "It turns out that is right."

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