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Healthcare Exchange Enrollment Derailed By Technical Glitches

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) We were with one Corridor resident this morning as she tried to sign up for the new exchange with the help of a coordinator at a local medical clinic. A few hours later, we were barely past square one.

Hopes were high today.

"There's just a feeling of excitement in the air," said the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Health Free Clinic Darlene Schmidt.

The plan was to get the Corridor residents signed up for the new Healthcare Exchange, created through the Affordable Care Act.

"Because with limited income, it's really hard to find an option that's available, said Mimz Grabau, who tried to sign up for the Exchange this morning.

We set up with the Coordinator for Affordable Care Act Enrollment, Heather Rowe, who is trained to help patients through the sign up process. It all starts with simply creating an account.

"Once they get that going they'll use that username and their password to log in and enter all their personal information, said Rowe.

We started at 10:30 this morning and for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon, we werent able to get past the first step, creating an account.

Schmidt says the goal now is to learn more about the system, speed up the process and try again. Especially before December 15th, since you have to be signed up by then for your coverage to start January 1st. Eventually, Schmidt says she wants to get many people signed up in the time that it took us today to figure out that it wasnt going to work.

"Well of course we would have liked to signed up 15 people this morning. You know, one every 15 minutes but I don't think that's a realistic expectation especially for October 1st, said Schmidt.

The notes that Heather kept during the day are four-printer pages long. They log every time we started over, hit an error screen and called the help line. The President said some of the technical problems were because so many people were trying to access the site at the same time, as many as 1 million at a time. For now, this is the process that folks are going through, on their own time, as they try to access the exchange from home at Healthcare.gov.
 
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