Nearly 500,000 people have filled out applications for Obamacare coverage despite the highly publicized problems with online sign-ups, administration officials told CNN Saturday.
"The website is unacceptable, and we are improving it," one senior administration official said. "But the underlying insurance product is good, and across the country people are getting access to affordable care on January 1."
The Affordable Care Act is intended to serve more than 48 million Americans without health insurance. Most Americans face tax penalties if they do not have health insurance by January 1.
The online sign-up process began October 1 and immediately ran into technical problems. Users often were unable to create required logins and passwords and ran into error messages even after that stage. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, who tried to enroll as an experiment, needed two weeks to reach the application stage.
Insurers also have complained of problems. Congressional hearings on the glitches are planned for next week.
The open enrollment period continues through March 31.
"We are going to work intensely for the next six months to make sure we meet the demand," the administration official said.
“Now, if you look at the homepage this morning for Healthcare.gov, there is something new that you can click on. It says apply by phone,” Cohen reports.
“I must say I have talked to these phone operators many, many times. They are very helpful. They do answer quite quickly.”
Rather than use the website due to the technical problems we used an independent representative at BCBS.
I'll have to say I wanted to give the ACA the benefit of the doubt as I recently had to drop all but catastrophic coverage due to our financial circumstances. I spent most of last week learning of the impact on my wife and myself under the new plan. I was under the impression I could keep my current plan if I chose. But I was informed my plan would be cancelled and I would have to by an new ACA approved plan. My state only has two options and both are increasing our costs between 200 and 500 percent. Our coverage will be no better than catastrophic and the cost for two is between 1200 and 2400 per month due to our ages. We will qualify for some subsidies but our overall cost will be much much higher than our current plan. We will have to opt for the fine, just no choice. I am very concerned as I understand if we need any services the provider will be fined for providing service to those that have no insurance.
I had hoped this may be a good thing. But from what I have learned, it looks like a disaster for my family!