Millions frustrated by glitches on heath care exchange website - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Millions frustrated by glitches on heath care exchange website

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This has been a frustrating two days for millions of people. The debut of insurance marketplaces Tuesday was overshadowed by complications, delays and system crashes. Almost three million people attempted to access healthcare.gov.

The first block message informs them that the site had "a lot of visitors", but assuring them the problem was being worked on. Today was not much different. Some say Healthcare.gov needs its own doctor.

So what can people do if they can't get into the market place?

One healthcare specialist say now is not the time to give up completely. In fact, she says use this time to research your options.

"I got an email around three o'clock that said two point eight million people had already gone to healthcare.gov. Not surprisingly it was running slow and not working," said Nicole Duritz, Vice President of Health Education Outreach for AARP.

She says she understands peoples' frustration with healthcare.gov. During the course of our interview, she attempted to walk me through the enrollment process. We ran into problems.

"And we're going to go ahead and click on apply now. Ok so what it's telling you right now is there are a lot of people on the site right now and it's asking you to stay here."

But after staying on that page another message pops up telling us the system is down.

The Obama Administration says glitches were expected, as they are with any new product sign up. But it promises to fix the problem.

In the meantime, Duritz has some advice for frustrated Alabamians.

"There's time. You can learn what it means for you and your family. Get informed and educated and then make an informed decision for you and your family," she said.

While the enrollment portion of the heatlhcare.gov is having problems, other parts of the website are working. Durtiz says customers can take time to find the plan that works best for them, even if they can't enroll.

Start by hitting "learn more first" on the site. Then you'll be asked to name the state you live in and your age. The next question will ask if you have insurance and if you are eligible for insurance through your employer. The next question will ask if you want information on a series of situations? Lastly, do you have pre-existing conditions?

Finally, a page will come up describing the programs you may be eligible for and links to marketplace plans.

Duritz says it's enough to make an informed decision.

"You need to shop. And then you have to decide how you like to get your healthcare. Wether you like to pay upfront and then have less payments later on. Or if you want to pay a little bit at the beginning and then pay more going forward. There are lots of different ways to interact and this is the time to learn about that."

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