Health Insurance Marketplace Struggles to Meet Demand - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Health Insurance Marketplace Struggles to Meet Demand

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Even though the government is shut down, the healthcare open marketplace is supposed to be open. But people trying to get healthcare online through the federal exchange are having some technical difficulties. North Dakotans who have visited the website healthcare.gov to sign up for the marketplace might have been frustrated with what they found.

The sign says open, but the Affordable Care Act Healthcare shop is closed. North Dakotans trying to sign up for the open exchange found themselves locked out again.

"We're in a new and complex market environment and quite honestly, technology can be frustrating for just about anyone," says western regional marketing manager Terry Price, Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota.

Many people who visit the page are being told they have to wait in line.

"I would urge the public not to get too frustrated, to make sure that if they made an attempt once or twice, to continue to try. This is something that's going to be good for North Dakotans. It is going to provide additional opportunities for people to be insured," says Price.

Right now, there's no other way for people to sign up for the marketplace besides the website. But insurers and medical providers are taking calls to answer people's questions and help them sign up if they can get through.

"We're just trying to gear up for it. We kind of don't know what to expect either, but we're trying to be as prepared as we can be to help our patients," says

Melissa Hauer, Sanford Health Corporate Counsel.

And insurers say people trying to sign up still have plenty of time.

"There's nothing that they need to do immediately," says Price.

To be insured by January 1, 2014 you need to register by December 15. But the open marketplace won't close until March 31.

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