Obamacare Signup Encountering New Problems

Since open enrollment started for Obamacare local health insurance agents say the government's website, Healthcare.gov, is now working better.
But as Mechell Dixon found out, it is still not without problems.

A Wichita Falls health insurance agent tells me problems that made it difficult for Americans to access Healthcare.gov caused the government to extend the coverage deadline date several times to allow folks to sign up.
But he says the Christmas holiday delivered some new problems that folks are encountering.

"The first deadline was December 15th.  It got moved to December 23rd and then to the 24th of December and that created a snowball effect at insurance companies," Fristoe says.

Kelly Fristoe of Financial Partners says that snowball effect was caused by coverage people signed up for by the Christmas Eve deadline date but he says the holiday caused a delay in folks receiving their information in mail.

"When you overload the system with all this mail the insurance company has no way, if you sign up on the 24th, to send you a notice that you owe them money and for you to be able to get a check in the mail back to them by the 31st," Fristoe says.

Fristoe says now clients are flooding a toll-free number to make arrangements to pay their premiums.
Because of this issue, Fristoe says the government has pushed back the deadline for premium payments from the January 1 effective date to January 10th.
Fristoe says the wait time for calls to that toll free number averages two or more hours.
That's why he says Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has set up a toll free number for premium payments.
It's 866-654-8569.
Fristoe also says the penalty start date of January 1st has been extended to March 31st.
And Fristoe says the penalty for not having coverage by that date will be basically be 1% of your 2014 household income which won't be available until early next year.

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