Problems with Healthcare.gov Prompt Paper Applications

Posted at: 11/13/2013 4:26 PM | Updated at: 11/13/2013 7:24 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Some Wisconsin residents have used pen and paper to avoid technical issues with the federal government's online health insurance exchange.

Navigators trained to help residents with enrollment said Healthcare.gov still fails in the middle of applications. Those issues contributed to low registration for health insurance in Wisconsin. Across the state fewer than 900 residents have used the website to pick a plan.

CEP Incorporated used federal grants to train navigators in Northwestern Wisconsin. CEO Brad Gingras said using Healthcare.gov has been frustrating.

“It simply hasn't worked well. Whether it gets hung up or it kicks people off,” Gingras said.

His employees have been helping individuals and small businesses learn about the Affordable Care Act, and how to sign up for health insurance on the new online exchange.

Gingras said the website has been improving, but navigators are using a low-tech backup plan.

“The paper application, it can be compared to filling out say, a job application, where they can fill out all the information on that paper application that they would find online and simply mail it in,” Gingras said.

He said the response through the mail takes days, but there are no technical bugs to deal with.

Gingras recommends that residents learn more about the new health insurance law before deadlines hit next month. Premiums must be paid by Dec. 15 for coverage to start with the new year.

Residents that want more information can call CEP Inc. at 715-682-9141 or the federal Help Center at 1-800-318-2596.

A navigator from CEP Inc. will give presentations on the health care exchange at the Superior Public Library on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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