MICHIGAN – The official health insurance marketplace website, Healthcare.gov, was overwhelmed by the amount of traffic coming in on opening day. So much so, in fact, that it prevented people from enrolling in a health plan.
Tuesday marked the first day of open enrollment into President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform.
The president said the traffic was higher than anticipated.
FOX 17 stopped by the Muskegon Community Health Project. The organization opened their doors to help guide people through the enrollment process.
“We haven’t been able to get into the shopping part today because of the traffic,” operations manager, Stevi Riel, said.
Keith Lehmann lives with diabetes and was the first person to walk through the doors.
“It’s been a little frustrating just trying to get into the system,” Lehmann said.
In fact, Lehmann had to come back to the Health Project twice due to the hiccup in order to continue shopping for his insurance. Even though he was able to create an account he was still unable to enroll.
The process is supposed to take about 60 minutes. It’s a two-part module where you create an account, then a screening process begins, generating hundreds of insurance plans tailored to fit the individuals needs.
Chris Hall, a certified application counselor, said she’s there to help answer questions.
“I have a lot of people who are scared and they want to know how can they afford [insurance] and what options are out there,” Hall said. “That’s really why we’re here, to help comfort them and move them through the process.”
Although Lehmann was unable to make his health insurance purchase, he said he’s glad there’s staff on hand to help assist in making the right decision. On Wednesday he hopes to return to the organization and try again.