On Monday, President Barack Obama acknowledged problems with Healthcare.gov—the site that consumers can use to sign up for health care made available through the Affordable Care Act.
And although designers made some tweaks to the site over the weekend, Consumer Reports recently reported that it might be best to stay away from the site for at least a month.
Officials also released numbers over the weekend about how many people have started the enrollment process. CNN reported that nearly 500,000 people have filled out applications for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly called Obamacare. Click here for more information on that.
On Monday, leaders with the Department of Health and Human Services put up a video of a young man who said he had started the enrollment process and found it "pretty easy," according to The Hill.
Locally, leaders with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee said they are holding off on releasing enrollment numbers.
"We are taking a long view of the enrollment process since it’s open until March 31, 2014," spokeswoman Mary Danielson said via email on Oct. 4, a few days after the marketplaces opened.
David Yoder, co-founder of locally based company American Exchange—whose leaders are helping residents nationwide connect with health insurance through marketplaces—said last week that a few people, including himself, have successfully started the process of enrolling.
Earlier this month, a small group of volunteers with the organization Organizing for Action gathered in Miller Plaza in an effort to spread awareness about Obamacare education, and they listened to Mayor Andy Berke give a short talk on the issue.
He mentioned Erlanger's struggles with uncompensated care costs, which arise when people who don't have health insurance come to the emergency room. The hospital ends up paying for those services.
Uncompensated care costs Erlanger about $85 million a year. But officials said last week that it's too soon to tell how the Affordable Care Act will impact those uncompensated costs.
The Washington Post had a piece Sunday that described the enrollment process, which includes three steps.
First, consumers must submit an application with information such as income, state of residence and size of family.
The second step is eligibility verification to make sure applicants qualify for the care. This is when they will determine if an applicant qualifies for tax credits.
The last step is shopping for the health insurance plan. Users can compare options and decide which they want to buy in this step, according to The Washington Post.
But since the online marketplaces opened Oct. 1, many consumers have had trouble signing up for coverage. Some users encountered problems creating login information, and others ran into error messages after that step.
Leaders with the administration have called on information technology professionals from the private sector to help fix the website, according to CNET. Click here to read more about that.
Obama's Affordable Care Act will provide access to health care coverage to 30 million people.
It includes provisions such as preventing insurers from denying benefits based on pre-existing conditions. It allows people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. It requires coverage to include a free annual wellness visit, among an array of other benefits.
Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the core of the health care reform law was constitutional.
Some of the law's requirements have already been implemented, and others will continue to be rolled out in coming years.
Under the act, marketplaces are being created, which will allow individuals and small business owners to shop for insurance coverage via Internet-based exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly everyone to have some sort of health care insurance, and it must meet the minimum requirements under the law.
But consumers are exempt from having to purchase health care coverage if the lowest health care option available costs more than 8 percent of a person's household income, according to NBC News.
People who already have insurance can drop their employers' offerings and purchase plans from the new marketplaces, but only if their current coverage costs more than 9.5 percent of their salary.
Click here to read about the deadline to sign up and avoid penalties.
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