Healthcare marketplace still causing issues for Lowcountry - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Healthcare marketplace still causing issues for Lowcountry

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It is has been three week since President Obama's new healthcare system was launched. The only marketplace, where consumers can purchase health insurance, healthcare.gov, is still creating headaches for the Franklin C. Fetter Health Clinic in downtown Charleston.

"In the first week, it was very difficult and frustrating for a number of people not being able to access the marketplace as it was promised," Virginia King, community affairs manager for the clinic, said.

The website is also causing problems for Amy Lustig. She has been trying to get health insurance for four years but has been denied from every agency she's applied to after suffering a knee injury in 2009.

The new marketplace website is her last chance to get coverage. When she attempts to create an account, however, the website said it is unable to do so.

"At first I was like, 'OK, there must be a little glitch somewhere,' so I redid it," Lustig said.  "After the tenth, eleventh, twelfth time I was like, 'What is going on?' It's just you've got to be kidding me."

The Fetter center said they are fairing better than Lustig.

"There is still an issue looking at plans," she said. "But, people are getting notified that they are eligible for either Medicaid or they are eligible to look at the plan."

The center has assisted close to 40 people with setting up accounts. Certified application counselors are on hand to help those who need advice and direction while using the healthcare marketplace.

King said if consumers are still having trouble accessing the online marketplace, they can use a paper application and mail that off to Department of Health and Human Services. The paper application is available here. 

She is optimistic that the challenges of the website will be worked out.

"This was a massive undertaking, and I think that anytime you do anything on this magnitude, there's going to be some glitches," King said. We are really hopeful because we are seeing, first hand, how the system is working out the kinks."

But, Lustig is worried about how limited her options may be if the website continues to keep her from logging on.

"I'm strapped. I don't know what else to do. Paying out of pocket is not feasible because most people well know how expensive healthcare is in this country," Lustig said.

The Obama administration said more than 500,000 have been able to successfully use the website.

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