Health Insurance Marketplace now open - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Health Insurance Marketplace now open

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(10/01/13) - Michigan did not set up its own healthcare marketplace, so buyers will be using the one set up by the federal government.

Tuesday's launch has brought some frustration.

The website is experiencing a few glitches, making the enrollment process longer for many. Experts advise patience and check throughout the day to see if the website is up and running properly.

To visit the Health Insurance Marketplace, click HERE.

In the coming weeks, there are plenty of places to get help with the process.

Remember, you have until the end of March to sign up. If you enroll by Dec.15, your health insurance will kick in Jan. 1.

The Hamilton Community Health Network is one source of assistance. Their Affordable Care Act experts saw a few people Tuesday morning - some who stopped by to enroll, others looking for more information on how it works.

Because the website has been down periodically, Hamilton's experts were not able to enroll anyone, but they are collecting information and setting up one-on-one appointments in the coming weeks.

"We were having some glitches on the marketplace, whenever we logged on to access the online application we were unable to and the marketplace was telling us to follow up later," said Marcie Roberts, certified application counselor with Hamilton Community Health Network. "I will counsel consumers through the application process of getting enrolled in a health plan. We're still unsure on how everything will work but we are hoping for the best, there are no glitches."

The Genesee Health Plan is also offering people free assistance in the near future. They're also holding four enrollment sessions in collaboration with Goodwill to get people started.

"I have heard there were a few people that have tried to get through the entire process, but they got kicked off the system," said Linda Hamacher, of the Genesee Health Plan. "We haven't enrolled anyone here because we didn't want to set appointments up today, we were afraid there may be glitches in the system. Next week we should have a lot of people come in to enroll, we have a lot of appointments set up. Our certified enrollment counselors can help everyone."

They'll have marketplace navigators on hand at those sessions.

"It is very helpful to have someone that can counsel you through the process, healthcare.gov is user friendly. I think most people could go through the process themselves, but when you get into looking at the plans you need to understand what is a deductible, what is a co-payment, what is a co-insurance so that you understand exactly what each health plan has to offer," Hamacher said.

If you have Medicaid or Medicare, you don't need to sign up for anything. Your health insurance stays the same.

For questions or to sign up for the Genesee Health Plan, click HERE or call 1-800-232-0503.

For a link to the Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program (HICAP), click HERE.

For a link to Enroll Michigan, click HERE.

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