U.S. insurance website much improved, health agencies say

    The Obama Administration says it has met its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline for fixing healthcare.gov. And staff members at area clinics said they have seen an improvement.

    In fact, it gets better each day, said Cecil Gordon, founder and president of Brandywine Women’s Health Association based in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “People can still get stuck at the actual sign up, getting the final numbers in terms of what it costs,” said Gordon. “There still isn’t a completely smooth transition, but it’s much improved. I think most of our clients are very happy with it.”

    Jacqueline Dyer, a part-time health aide from Philadelphia, enrolled at a local clinic earlier this month.

    “I heard it was having problems,” she said of the site. “But … I just said. ‘Let me try and see’ because I really need insurance, especially dental care,” said Dyer. I just went and tried and I got through.”

    Laura Line is corporate assistant director of health care for Resources for Human Development Inc., which has Pennsylvania’s largest navigator grant from the federal government to help people get connected to coverage.

    “What I’ve been hearing over the past few days is people have been able to enroll in a pretty seamless fashion,” Line said. “I’m sure it’s not across the board, but there have been a lot more enrollments that are more an hour’s time than we had heard previously.”

    If her clients at Public Health Management Corporation’s Rising Sun Health Center in North Philadelphia don’t get through, social worker Imelda Mendoza-Sierra said she follows up.

    “The process is faster,” she said. “When we first started, we were doing paper applications and those people were not very happy because you put in an application and they were not getting anything back until the middle of November.

    “Now the website is working,” she said.

    If clients can’t enroll online, they aren’t able to start a second application over the phone, Mendoza-Sierra said.

    That’s the next issue for the administration to fix, she suggested.

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