Pa. health exchanges off to a slow start

     (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

    (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

    More than a week after the federal health care exchange opened in Pennsylvania, shoppers are turning to pen and paper to begin their search for insurance plans under the federal health care law.

    Organizations around the commonwealth say website glitches caused by high traffic have kept anyone from successfully enrolling in a plan on the Pennsylvania exchange.


    Resources for Human Development, which received a federal grant to act as a “navigator” for people using the exchange, has been taking calls from people frustrated with the site, said Kate Kozeniewski.

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    “Once we’ve been able to speak to them and let them know that, no, it’s just that a huge number of people have been interested and that they didn’t think that this many people would be interested so quickly,” she said. “Once people understand that they have until Dec. 15 for their insurance to become effective on Jan. 1, I think they have been OK with that.”

    Since Pennsylvania’s health care online exchange is federally run, the state doesn’t yet have enrollment data at its fingertips — including the number of visitors who have been able to access information or the number of applications started.

    The federal Department of Health and Human Services expects to report those figures next month.

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