BOISE -- Idaho's online health exchange has been up and running for about a week. So how's it working?
The answer is: sometimes it's not.
For example, users have seen the error message "We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page," pop up for the past week. That particular error has affected the system since it launched Tuesday, October 1st.
That's when many folks reported not being able to access the system for several hours. The delays have plagued thousands of users in many other states, according to reports.
When using the federal healthcare exchange website today, I did see the error message described above on about two tries out of ten to register. Creating and logging into my account went smoothly. The only feature that didn't work well was password recovery.
Representatives with Idaho's state exchange say users should expect similar slowdowns.
Alberto Gonzalez is the operations manager for Your Health Idaho. The entity is a federally-funded independent body politic charged with running Idaho's new healthcare exchange. Gonzalez blames the federal government, saying the online system isn't broken, just not ideal.
"The fact that they were not prepared for the high volume, and that they haven't been able to allow users to easily go through the process has been the most frustrating thing for our clients," Gonzalez told KTVB.
HOW MANY USERS?
But how many prospective healthcare clients are out there?
While exact enrollment figures haven't been released, Your Health Idaho claims over 30,000 unique visitors have logged on since October 1st. However, the only problem with that statistic is you can't actually register for insurance on the Your Health Idaho website, you can only get information.
That's because Idaho is one of 36 states that redirects web traffic to the federal system. Gonzalez said that should change by next year.
"So for the next open enrollment, which begins October 15, 2014, Your Health Idaho intends on having our own technology in place, our own application system, our own case management system. Everything will be ours," Gonzalez said.
In the meantime, he reminds Idahoans that the deadline to register for coverage in 2014 is March 31st. Those who need coverage by January 2014 should register by December 15.