ANDERSON — Terri Rinker expected glitches when the federal Health Insurance Marketplace went live, but she never anticipated the problems would make it so difficult to help people.
“The website has gone down,” Rinker said.
Rinker, a certified application counselor, was providing assistance with health care enrollment at Community Hospital Anderson on Tuesday. She said she hopes the problems were only due to a large volume of users and will be corrected quickly.
She said they helped more than a dozen people seeking assistance with the Marketplace program and several people were unsure exactly what the Marketplace was for and if it was something they were required to do.
Kathy Abner, of Muncie, traveled to Anderson to find someone to help her enroll in the program. She said she was excited about the federal program for health insurance because she was recently laid off and she has a medical condition that requires medications.
“I’ve been trying to get on one of these plans since 9 a.m.,” Abner said. “I was one of the first people here and we have not been able to get into the Marketplace.”
Rinker assisted Abner with her application, but the website would kick Abner off during the registration process. Rinker called the toll-free number listed on the site and after a 30-minute wait, Abner was told the only way she could enroll was online.
“It’s frustrating,” Abner said. “I can’t do any comparison plans.”
After two hours, Abner decided to give up her quest, but Rinker made arrangements to have someone who was certified to help Abner enroll in the program in Muncie so she would not have to drive back to Anderson.
Rinker said Abner could enroll herself online, but some are not comfortable with that process and application counselors can explain the terminology.