BOISE -- Idaho's new insurance exchange marketplace had some roadblocks for consumers on the first day of open enrollment, with some people unable to get past registration on the marketplace, which is housed on a nationally-run platform. Officials and the site itself said the high volume of site users slowed the site.
KTVB tested the site for hours throughout Tuesday. In the afternoon and evening, we were unable to get past the registration phase. An hour into the first try (starting around 3:15 p.m.), KTVB asked Your Health Idaho Executive Director, Amy Dowd, what people in that situation should do: call the help center number or wait and try another time or day?
What should you do if you're stuck right now?
"I would recommend the latter. Really, waiting and checking back. And also you can call and get a referral for an in-person assister or agent or broker to assist you with the walk-through, but really... the recommendation would be to wait," Dowd said.
Operations Director Alberto Gonzalez said the Your Health Idaho Consumer Resource Center took hundreds of calls on Tuesday, with the bulk of concerns being about getting stuck. He said most people were understanding and just curious to look at the site and plans.
"There weren't a lot of complaints other than people really wanting to get through the few screens that were being slowed down because it's a federal platform," Gonzalez said.
Officials: Federal site should speed up with volume decrease
Dowd was unable to answer system specifics on how they will improve speed on the federal platform, but said she's been told things should speed up for users after the initial wave of interested consumers begins to spread out.
"The marketplace is built on a dynamic platform that will scale to volume and will adjust to performance issues, but as far as the specifics on timing of that or how that works, I don't have access to that data. The last report I had is that we should see a natural decrease in volume in the next few days and weeks," Dowd said.
How to get help, and deadline to enroll
You can get help by chatting live online with someone on the marketplace site (it took KTVB about a half hour for a response there) or calling 1-855-YHIDAHO.
Open enrollment lasts for six months, through March 31, 2014. To begin coverage on January 1, 2014, consumers must enroll by December 15, 2013.