October 29th, 2013
06:51 AM ET

Presidential Insurance Pitch to Younger Americans

The White House tried to woo young Americans into the new health exchanges Monday night, releasing a study suggesting nearly half of eligible Americans between 18 and 34 can purchase coverage for less than $50 per month.

The administration is also extending the signup window by six weeks, reports CNN’s Brianna Keilar.  She says, “That signup deadline is now March 31st”, it had been February 15th.”

The study also helps to push back against consumer tales of Obamacare sticker shock and frustration of some Americans that their current health plans can't continue under the new law.

But one insurance industry source told CNN the vast majority of Americans on the individual insurance market will see modifications to their existing plans, or even cancellations.

For months, Obama administration officials have asserted that in order for the new exchanges to be a success, roughly 40 percent of the customers needed to be young and healthy.

Released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services, the study helps back up Obama's pitch to those consumers that insurance will cost less than their cell phone bill.

“A significant chunk of those people could stay on their parents plan until age of 26," Dr. Sanjay Gupta says. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

"It could be pretty affordable, seems for that target range of people.”

See more at CNN.com.

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October 11th, 2013
06:55 AM ET

Obamacare Glitches Continue

Technical problems with the federally facilitated health insurance exchange were caused by a specific software component that crashed under the high volume of visitors last week, preventing users from creating accounts in the beginning stages of the enrollment process, a federal official confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

"At lower volumes, this software component would work fine, and at higher volume, that's what created the problems," the official said. "We've made software changes to make the system more efficient and be able to handle higher volumes."

For more than a week, visitors to Healthcare.gov have experienced slow connection speeds and error messages preventing them from purchasing insurance. The Department of Health and Human Services has been taking down parts of the site during off-peak hours, and officials say that adding more server capacity; moving certain over-stressed components to dedicated hardware; and making software changes to increase efficiency have improved the situation.

SEE FULL STORY 

“The Obamacare sign-up website has been beset with glitches,” reports CNN’s Brian Todd, “so we pressed the administration's point-man on all this: David Simas.”

As Deputy Sr. White House Adviser for Communication, Simas says people are working around the clock to fix these problems, but urges patience and consideration for the magnitude of the project.

“The President said from the beginning; with a site like this of course there are going to be glitches,” Simas explains.  “But let's understand why there was the initial problem: We had 250,000 concurrent users at one time. I mean just for perspective, Medicare.gov, in a given month, has 5-million unique visitors. This in the first three says had 8.6-million unique visitors, which speaks to the demand.”

To all those who've been frustrated by the website and are about to give up, Simas says, 'Keep on going back, call a help center– and understand there's a six-month period to sign up.”

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