The Ottumwa Courier

October 4, 2013

Iowans continue to try to sign up for health care

DAVID PITT
Associated Press

---- — DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some Iowans wanting to get signed up for health care insurance under the federal health care overhaul weren't deterred Thursday by a third day of technical glitches and vowed to continue to keep trying.

At Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines 12 certified financial counselors have been helping with applications and attempting to get people signed up for insurance, said Betty Spratt, their supervisor.

She said 128 people sought assistance Tuesday, the first day the online marketplace was available, and 123 on Wednesday. Thursday's numbers hadn't yet been compiled, but Spratt said it had been busy.

The website was still kicking people off, saying there were too many users, so Spratt's team turned to the toll-free telephone system set up for enrollment.

"We were making telephone applications over the phone and then we were told today that they were now experiencing some technical difficulties and they didn't want us to try back for a couple of days," Spratt said. "So now we're going to paper applications."

She said the hospital's counselors have successfully signed up seven people for insurance on the phone.

Many of the people seeking help are leery of getting onto the system themselves and want assistance, she said. They're determined to succeed, she said.

"I thought it was going to be a very hectic week, but I've been very pleasantly surprised that everybody is very patient and excited about the whole thing," Spratt said. "They're willing to come back at a later date when we can help them apply."