The state's healthcare exchange website continues to deal with glitches as more people than ever are trying to sign up.
KENNEWICK, WA - The state's healthcare exchange website continues to deal with glitches as more people than ever are trying to sign up.
Healthplanfinder.org was up and running Friday morning. But Friday afternoon it was down again.
These continued errors, with just ten days left to sign up for coverage beginning January 1st, is creating a big sense of urgency.
People are reaching out for help and those helping them are just trying to keep up with the overload of customers.
"Thanks for your patience" is the message people keep seeing when they try to sign up for healthcare coverage on the state site.
Frustrated customers are turning to insurance agents for help.
"Every single day we've been getting calls from clients throughout the area that are concerned or confused about what they're supposed to be doing with Washington Healthplanfinder," said Kevin Husted, agent at Advisor Benefits.
The constant up and downs with the website is increasing the customer service demands. 25,000 people called for help on Monday alone.
The Washington Health Benefits Exchange says those numbers are comparable to much larger states like California.
I'm told the exchange has doubled their service staff since the site started in October.
And people are seizing the opportunity when the site actually works.
"When the website comes back up, we start calling people and having them come in when the website is up so we can actually help them," Husted said.
With just ten days left until the deadline for January coverage, people are rushing to get signed up and reaching out for help from agents.
"Came in on Tuesday with one appointment at 10 o'clock and by the time I got done with that appointment. I had seven more appointments for the day," Husted said.
The Health Benefits Exchange tells us they're increasing the site's capacity to process data to accommodate the surge in users.
"Many people working around the clock to make improvements to the website to run large batches of applications that previously haven't been able to get through due to error codes. So there's a number of steps our IT staff are taking to alleviate some of those issues that people are seeing," said Bethany Frey, Washington Health Benefits Exchange.
Frey wants to remind people that while the deadline for healthcare starting in January is December 23rd, it's not their last chance.
People have until March 31st to sign up for a plan for 2014.
Thursday, August 21 2014 5:17 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:17:08 GMT
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