Despite glitches and long delays on the federally-run health insurance exchange Website, at least one insurer in Ohio confirms it has enrolled new members through the exchange this week. Ideastream health reporter Sarah Jane Tribble reports on what's happened since the exchanges opened for business Tuesday.
The health insurance exchanges are a key part of the Affordable Care Act and are meant to offer insurance to those who do not have coverage through their employer.
Some states are running their own exchanges. But dozens of states, like Ohio, are letting the federal government run the exchanges. However since their debut Tuesday there has been no information from the federal government about how many people are signing up.
Instead, much of the news has been about the glitches and wait times on the site.
Cathy Levine, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Universial Health Action Network in Ohio, said the demand for the exchanges is tremendous and her staff is telling people to be patient.
"We're relying on the federal market place which is overwhelmed by the volume of callers in the first few days," Levine says.
Scott Streator is a vice president at Caresource, a non-profit insurerer that serves low income populations. He says, yes, the federal web site has been slow and it has been difficult to sign up. But he says people are making it through - a few at a time.
"Every day we get a couple more… We have literally over 500 in cue who said we are excited to enroll, call us back when the Web site clears up," Streator says.
Most of the new enrollees have signed up for a Silver plan, which is the middle tier plan that has the biggest subsidy connected to it, he says.
CareSource projects that it will enroll a total of 50,000 new members on the exchanges during the next year.