Bumpy Start for the Healthcare Marketplace

The highly anticipated “marketplace” went live online this morning and if you tried to immediately shop for healthcare coverage, odds are you didn’t get very far. The website experienced frequent crashes after going online at about 8:00am and those who were able to load the home page were sent to a virtual waiting room.

Healthcare advocates had predicted the possibility of difficulties on day one as potentially millions of Americans tried to access the website to solve their health insurance woes. They urge patience and remind you that the enrollment period continues for 6 months, through March 31st, for 2014 coverage. After that, the enrollment period for each year will run from October 1st through December 7th of the previous year.

Those seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act should also be careful to use the proper website, which is Another website,, was also offering side-by-side policy comparisons as of Tuesday morning, but officials say in order to receive tax credits for your insurance purchase you must go through the .gov website.

If you are seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act, advocates say you should be very careful to compare the plans that will be available to you.


PennPIRG Report Encourages Pennsylvania to Create Its Own Health Exchange

nationwide study of   health exchanges being set up under the federal health care reform law says Pennsylvania should act to create a new insurance marketplace.   

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is still deciding  if the state will design its own health exchange, or leave it up to one managed by the  federal government.  The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group has issued a report saying the state should get going on its own exchange.

Alana Miller, program associate for PennPIRG, says having our own exchange gives us the ability to analyze what we want and what makes sense for Pennsylvania.  She says the exchanges offer states a chance to address the problems of cost and quality.  She adds they help consumers get a fair shake when they’re buying insurance.

Miller says not all exchanges are created equal. She says a strong exchange should be protected from insurance industry influence and negotiate with insurers for better rates.  She says that would help consumers in the long run with better quality care and lower costs. 

Miller says an exchange would give easy to use tools and comparisons for consumers when they’re choosing between plans.  She believes a state developed exchange gives Pennsylvania the ability to analyze what we want in our own plan and what makes sense for Pennsylvanians.

Miller says health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better and more affordable options for coverage.  She says many other states are already developing their own exchanges, which need to be operating by 2014.