Reporting Jon Delano
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Unable to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, Julie Goodenough of Crafton was excited to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but so far it’s been frustrating.
“I haven’t been able to sign up because I guess so many people are trying that it was crashing,” Goodenough told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “So they said, try again in a few days, and still can’t get in there.”
She’s hardly alone. The website, www.healthcare.gov, comes up on screen but will not allow many to log in and get insurance.
“I just want to get signed up. That’s all I want to do,” said Goodenough.
Instead, you get this message on the screen.
“‘We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page,’” Goodenough read off the screen.
But if you do stay, the message often changes to this: “The system is down at the moment.”
Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement: “Experts are working around the clock and were able to expand system capacity somewhat overnight, cutting by one-third the volume of people waiting to apply. Work on the site continues today.”
To say that the website has been overwhelmed is putting it mildly.
In the first 48 hours, more than seven million Americans have tried to log on to get health insurance.
Government officials say, try the old-fashioned way — make a phone call to the 800-number.
That’s what Erin Ninehouser from the Pennsylvania Health Access Network did.
“I actually just called them a few minutes ago and it took me less than one minute to connect with a live person,” said Ninehouser.
Goodenough tried to do the same, and after a few recorded prompts, she got a human being, too.
But if you prefer online, just wait a few weeks.
“There is absolutely no need to sign up immediately. As long as you do it by Dec. 15, coverage starts Jan. 1,” noted Ninehouser.