In New Orleans, exchange plan enrollment numbers are hard to come by. (AP photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Insurance companies are seeing a small number of people in Louisiana signing up for health insurance plans through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange website.

Enrollments remain low because of the problems people are having with using the HealthCare.gov website.

Twelve people have purchased an insurance plan through the site from Vantage Health Plan.

Vantage is one of insurers selling coverage through the exchange.

Vantage spokesman Billy Justice said the low figure wasn’t surprising.

He said traffic on the website is extremely busy, and he noted that the enrollment period that opened last week runs through March. Justice, director of marketing and sales for the Monroe-based company, said people are sifting through their options, but not buying just yet.

“They’ve got six months to do this,” he said Wednesday. “I didn’t expect to have 5,000 people sign up on Day 1. People are shopping through the website. Could it be better? Yes. But it’s not that bad.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is offering insurance plans through the marketplace around the state. The company wouldn’t say how many people have enrolled.

Last week, Blue Cross said it had received a “small number” of submissions from the marketplace and that hundreds of purchase requests made through sales agents are waiting in queues to be entered into the website once technical issues were resolved.

“We are continuing to get submissions,” company spokesman John Maginnis said.

He said Blue Cross has noticed “incremental improvement” with the website. 

Rochelle Payne, an uninsured, part-time professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, has been trying to buy health insurance since the marketplace opened Oct. 1. She’s been unsuccessful, but she’s not discouraged.

“I’ll just keep trying. I’m not giving up — because I need it,” Payne said.

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