ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federally run website signing Alaskans up for health care is making progress, according to brokers, counselors and others using it.
HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1 and experienced glitches, the Anchorage Daily News (http://bit.ly/1kbCd7E) reported. Enroll Alaska, a private broker, shut down for three weeks at the end of October after detecting an incorrect subsidy calculator for Alaska's health insurance exchange.
Enroll Alaska chief operating officer Tyann Boling said problems remain but enrollment numbers are rising dramatically. The company has enrolled 86 people in Alaska's online marketplace and 36 apart from the website. Most were in recent weeks, Boling said.
"I would say on a scale of one to 10, it's operating at about a seven," Boling said of HealthCare.gov. "Our enrollment numbers are coming up dramatically. Yesterday we were able to enroll 14 people. Two weeks ago that would've been impossible."
The federal government operates the insurance marketplace for Alaska and 35 other states. Alaska is the only state in the northwest region to do so, said Department of Health and Human Services regional director Susan Johnson. Oregon, Washington and Idaho run their own websites and also have experienced problems.
Idaho designed its own website while relying on federal technology behind the scenes and is "doing pretty well," she said. Oregon remains unable to enroll people online and Washington is "kind of the lead sled dog," Johnson said.
Issues remain involving insurance companies after a person enrolls in the Alaska marketplace, Johnson said.
Boling said problems arise on a case-by-case basis.
Johnson said HealthCare.gov will see progress and improvements "through March and beyond." Despite flaws, HealthCare.gov has resulted in health insurance for many for the first time.
"Twenty minutes on a website or 45 minutes on a website to get through that curtain to the promise of coverage and health security is worth waiting for," Johnson said.
Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com