LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nonprofit groups were still working Monday to sign Nebraskans up for health insurance through the new public exchange system, despite computer problems that have lasted for nearly a week.
The nonprofit group Community of Nebraska reported that some residents were able to create accounts within the new federal website, HealthCare.gov. But they were still unable to access details about the plans offered in Nebraska.
Federal officials have said the logjam was due to intense demand that overloaded Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange websites and jammed phone lines. Nebraska officials have opted for a federally facilitated exchange set up within the state, which includes the website, a toll-free number and paper applications.
Some residents are enrolling with help from health insurance navigators, who were trained to walk people through the process. The navigators include case managers who already work for local Community Action of Nebraska offices, in addition to new staff members hired in local offices.
“To my knowledge, creating the account is as far as we’ve gotten,” said Aaron Bowen, chief operating officer for Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders County in Lincoln. “We’re using the toll-free number to call in so people can do some of the enrollment over the phone. It isn’t ideal, but it’s where we’re at.”
Bowen said his office had connected with about 40 people by phone since last Tuesday, and held in-person appointments with another 10.