Online insurance exchange still down - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Online insurance exchange still down

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By: Jenn Schanz

The Affordable Care Act rolled out it's red carpet on Oct. 1st with the online insurance exchange.

The problem?

Most people haven't taken their first step yet.

"[We're] just getting lots of screens saying 'sorry we're very busy right now', 'we have more people that expected', that kind of thing. So there's a lot of frustration," says Roger Furrer, Executive Director of Community Action Nebraska.

With the system glitch, shoppers can't enroll in plans through, the official marketplace.

You can enroll through specific providers' websites, but you'd lose out on a tax credit, so experts say to be patient.

"We know that people are anxious, but we're really encouraging people to take the big picture here," Furrer says.

While the kinks get worked out, there are alternatives. You can enroll through the mail or via phone, just call 1–800–318–2596.

There are also advisors available. Nebraska has around 70 trained marketplace navigators, you can also speak to an insurance broker through a specific provider.

Navigators won't tell you which plan to enroll in, but instead give general information on plan options, and how to use the site.

Insurance brokers generally have ties to a specific provider, and might recommend a specific plan.

"We can run you through some examples, get some quotes from some plan designs. Once that marketplace is up and running, we can help you get through that process to determine are you eligible for some financial assistance," saysTom Gilsdorf of Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it's working on the problem, but a solution hasn't been reached yet.

Open enrollment does go until March 31st, so anyone interested in getting coverage through the online exchange has plenty of time.


Again, if you'd like to enroll in a plan via phone, call 1-800-318-2596. Just make sure you have birth dates, social security numbers, W2s, and past health coverage information ready.

To find the closest Community Action center to you, visit

If you're interested in getting information through specific providers, you can contact any of these four that are participating in the exchange:

1. Blue Cross Blue Shield
2. Coventry
3. CoOportunity Health
4. Healthcare Alliance

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) will host a free informational session on current health care laws Wednesday, Oct. 16th at the Embassy Suites on P street from 7:00-8:30 p.m. To RSVP for the session, go to or call 402-982-7633

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