MIAMI (AP) - With just days left to sign up for insurance under the president’s new health law, people around Florida are continuing to have mixed results as they try to enroll.
The website problems appear to be fewer than when the site launched in the fall, but users are still experiencing minor hiccups and jammed phone lines as they join the millions around the country seeking to beat the March 31 deadline. It can take several visits to the website to finish an application, even without technical glitches.
And aside from technical problems, confusion persists about who qualifies for tax credits, along with enrollment deadlines and extensions. The deadline was recently extended through mid-April for those who start the application process by Monday.
In Miami, a navigator sped through Willie Washington’s application on Monday, signing up the 50-year-old construction worker for health insurance in less than an hour with minimal problems.
“You’d be surprised. A lot of guys in this neighborhood still don’t have it,” said Washington, who said he planned to spread the word.
Washington chose a preferred medical plan with no premium or deductible and a $1,500 out-of-pocket max thanks to a $352 monthly tax credit.
“It ends a lot of frustration because you can live a better life knowing you can go to the doctor now that you’ve got insurance,” he said.
On Tuesday, Sandy Raphael tried to sign up at a Miami hospital during her work break, but the website kept kicking her out and she eventually had to leave without completing her application.
“I’m frustrated,” said Rafael, a 37-year-old uninsured medical assistant.
All week long, dozens of students at Florida International University tried to enroll with the help of two counselors. Several applications were stalled by website glitches, while others moved along smoothly.
“It’s a mixed bag,” said counselor Anthony Rouzier, who was helping several students enroll at the same time. When healthcare.gov flashed a message that it couldn’t verify one student’s identification, he said the federal government’s hotline was too backed up to even bother calling.
“I tried to call and they said ‘we’re not accepting calls right now,’” said Rouzier.
Gustavo Chabarro, a 34-year-old graduate assistant, said the process has been complicated. He first filled out an application in February and the system was down so he called the hotline. He was instructed to call back a week later.
“The system is down more times than it’s up,” said Chabarro, who is hoping to find a cheaper plan for him and his wife. He would have to pay $5,200 a year to add his wife onto the university’s plan.
He finally made it through the application process Wednesday and was narrowing down his plans, hoping to find one with a low deductible.