The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 1, 2013

Day one of health care markets giltchy

WASHINGTON — The online insurance marketplaces created by President Barack Obama’s health care law got off to a bumpy start Tuesday as some consumers were kicked off web portals and several states reported glitches that slowed enrollment on the first day Americans were supposed to be able to sign up for coverage.

The website for accessing federally run marketplaces — www.healthcare.gov — froze when some consumers tried to create accounts, the first step in selecting a health plan. Officials said the site got 1 million visits in the last day, five times more visitors than have ever been on the federal Medicare.gov site at one time.

And callers seeking information from a federal call center (800-318-2596) had to wait 20 minutes or more to get help.

In Maryland, which is running its own online marketplace, officials delayed opening of the website until noon and reported problems with their call center. Similar problems prevented consumers from getting information on health plans in Kentucky for a while.

Other states, including Oregon and Colorado, have already delayed some enrollment systems.

Obama and his allies have warned that there would likely be glitches in the new systems for enrolling in health plans. And they have reminded Americans that they have six months to select a plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement: “We have built a dynamic system and are prepared to make adjustments as needed and improve the consumer experience. This new system will allow millions of Americans to access quality, affordable healthcare coverage — without underwriting. Consumers who need help can also contact the call center, use the live chat function, or go to localhelp.healthcare.gov to find an in-person assistor in their community.”

Administration officials were hoping to minimize problems at a time when the 2010 Affordable Care Act is under increasing scrutiny and heightened attacks from critics.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Charges filed in July 8 fatal Dodge Center woman criminally charged in fatal car crash

    July 28, 2014

  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped c

    July 27, 2014

  • Solar car race to end at University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A cross-country solar car race is set to finish at the University of Minnesota on Monday. About 10 solar cars from colleges around the world are competing in the eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race began July

    July 27, 2014

  • Dozens of oil trains pass through Minnesota weekly Railroad documents released by the state Department of Public Safety show about 50 trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota are passing through Minnesota each week.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medical Marijuana [Duplicate] Wanted: Manufacturers for Minn. medical pot program After the long slog to legalize medical marijuana, the state's real work has begun to get the unconventional medicine in severely ill patients' hands by this time next year.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minneapolis to NYC flight diverted to Milwaukee MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to New York City has landed safely in Milwaukee after it was diverted. Delta spokeswoman Kate Modolo says the crew chose to divert the flight Saturday morning out of an abundance of caution a

    July 26, 2014

  • Hamas rejects 4-hour Gaza war truce extension BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Hamas official says the group has rejected a four-hour extension of a humanitarian truce proposed by Israel. Sami Abu Zuhri sent a text message to reporters Saturday, saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an

    July 26, 2014