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Glitches possible with health overhaul rollout

Posted: September 30, 2013 - 9:43pm  |  Updated: October 2, 2013 - 1:40pm

JUNEAU — There will likely be some glitches associated with the rollout of the online health insurance marketplace in Alaska — surges in use, people getting lost on the website or delays in response time, a federal official said Monday.

However, such issues won’t diminish the fact that today, millions of people around the country who have been “locked out from the peace of mind of getting health insurance” because of past health problems will now have access, said Susan Johnson, a regional director with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The message, she said, is “the door is open, and it’s a welcoming door and there are people to help these folks come into the world of insurance coverage and potentially at costs that are much less than they might have imagined, with assistance.”

An estimated 139,000 Alaskans under the age of 65 are uninsured, Johnson said.

She said the exchange website should still go live, even if there is a federal government shutdown, because the site has already been prepared.

Alaska is among the states that chose to have the federal government set up the marketplace. In the event of a shutdown, thousands of federal agency employees would be furloughed, and there could be a delay in reaching state-specific people in departments like Medicaid, she said.

But the “broad, green light” for the launch should still be there, she said.

Johnson and others have noted that Tuesday isn’t a deadline: It’s the day Alaskans can begin browsing their options for private insurance via the marketplace.

She said she expects a surge in activity in November and December and hopes people take time to review their options and seek guidance if they need it. She also cautioned people against “false fronts” — fraudulent sites — and said the safest route to access the exchange is through the government site,

United Way of Anchorage and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium received federal grants to act as so-called “navigators” to conduct outreach and help promote the marketplace in the state.

Enroll Alaska, a division of Northrim Benefits Group LLC, is a broker established to help individuals and families sign up and understand their options. While Enroll Alaska will receive a commission from participating insurance companies, Johnson said the group is “passionate” about enlisting people.

Johnson compares Enroll Alaska to a college adviser, saying it can be helpful on specific plans for particular needs.

Under the federal health care law, virtually everyone will be required to have health insurance as of Jan. 1. There are exemptions for financial hardships and religious objections, but those who ignore the mandate could face fines, which begin at a minimum of $95 for an individual next year and increase to a minimum of $695 a person by 2016.

Those who select a plan by Dec. 15 can get coverage starting Jan. 1; March 31 marks the end of open enrollment. Individuals with a qualifying event such as a job loss, birth or divorce, can enroll after that, according to the government website.

Alaskans could pay some of the highest premiums in the country under the new exchange, according to recently released government figures. Premiums in the past have tended to be higher in Alaska, though, and a number of factors will affect the ultimate personal costs. Johnson said in places where premiums are higher, subsidies to help cover the cost, for those who are eligible, are higher, too.

She said her hope is that more insurers will enter the marketplace over time. Two — Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska and Moda Health — will offer plans initially.

Johnson was expected to attend a Tuesday news conference on the health care law in Anchorage.

On Monday, she met with library officials in Juneau on ways they can be involved in the outreach. She also planned to meet with officials from the governor’s office and make a pitch for Medicaid expansion under the law.

Gov. Sean Parnell has so far resisted expansion, citing concerns about the total cost to the state. He has said his next decision point would come when he submits his budget in December.


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Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/01/13 - 11:48 am
Yepper! Nation wide Glitches

Yepper! Nation wide Glitches with massive shut downs due to this Train wrecks Disinformation and unknown answers for HUGE costs for different age groups or income groups.
Six months to try and iron all these out with national rejection of this Law to promote a nanny welfare state of total dependence on government which has NEVER been able to accomplish these same desires thru out history. History also shows American governments that have failed and are failing to fulfill their promises to provide for all needs of all Americans all the time.
It will not work and Obama and the Dems who shoved this Nightmare down America's throat know it.
These glitches will spiral out of control even more as we go forward, wait and see if this is not true.
When people do try to sign up their frustration will skyrocket and anger will turn against these gr8 providers of nothing good. Then there is the huge cost increases and lack of services for many more than now is the case.
Enough said I guess about this national destructive law intended to do exactly what it's doing, being an absolute Abomination.
Change the title from possible glitches to, most assured non-stop never ending glitches.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/01/13 - 09:18 pm
Were sorry, the site you have

Were sorry, the site you have tried to access is not available.
Were sorry due to the info you have given you can in no way ever afford insurance no matter what amount of subsidies you might receive.
Were sorry you did not apply for insurance with any Affordable health care provider, but your rates are still going to sky rocket like California's 146%.
Were sorry your not smart enough to know Affordable care is the same as Obama/Clinton care and are on the wrong site.
This list of were sorry could and will go on until the National revolt stops this madness and boots all those exempt from it's regulations out of office, or the UN comes in to restore peace.
Were sorry to have to inform you all of this truth, but as Forrest 'Bubba' Gump said it, 'Stuff Happens'.
What a mess, and all due to false hope & change to believe in, the very same one that history shows has never worked and never will work.
Were sorry to have to break this news to all of you, but, it's all true about glitches present and those to come.
I wonder why the silence here about this wonderful glitchsurance from the faithful locals and if they have signed up? I bet they haven't signed up, nor will they, yet they sure want all the rest to do so and condemn us for not doing so.
Please understand, forgive me here as I am not trying to be nasty or insensitive about the plight of others needs for medical care. I am not. I am simply trying to point out the fallacy of this being a good thing for anyone anywhere which we will all realize sooner than later as people start to sign up and are informed of their costs.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/02/13 - 01:16 pm
ACA site removes Free

ACA site removes Free insurance from it's site.
The site use to say 'if you can't afford any health care insurance, you can get it for Free or at low costs at a health care center near you'. OPPS! They quietly removed the words 'get Free', it's probably one of those glitches to sucker people in before it actually became law, but now reality sets in and it's NOT FREE TO ANYONE.
Who among us would have thought that this was the case of being FREE or GOOD for anyone?
Stand by more things will be removed on this site, wait for it, wait for it, there it probably changed again some how. It's ALIVE, this monster is still unknown as far as what it will look like as we all near the End, End of the 6 month registration period.

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