Website improvements underway, HHS secretary says - WFLA News Channel 8

Website improvements underway, HHS secretary says

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The first days of the new insurance marketplace on healthcare.gov have been "rockier than we would have liked," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a visit to Tampa on Tuesday.

Sebelius acknowledged issues with the website – which even got a mention on Saturday Night Live for its troubles – but said improvements are underway.

"We've identified the glitches, we've added hardware, we're recoding software," she said during a media availability after a panel discussion at the University of South Florida's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS).

Sebelius didn't set a timeline for the fixes, but said that "we're working on it day and night."

The event on Tuesday included "navigators" put in place to help people through the process of applying for and buying insurance, and two uninsured students who talked about their experiences without health insurance.

"For me, being uninsured is terrifying because I can't afford to be playing a soccer game and fall and hurt myself and not be able to work," said Savanah Goodland.

Goodland, 23, said she also ran into slowdowns on the website, and turned to the call center for help. That worked, and Goodland said she found out the cheapest plans for her will cost about $50 per month.

Navigators have also turned to the call center to help individuals sign up and get information when they had trouble with the website. In those cases, applications can be made by phone or on paper.

Floridians are using the federal site to shop for insurance because Florida is among the states not operating its own marketplace, or exchange, for insurance plans.

To get coverage beginning January 1, the deadline to sign up for a plan is December 15.

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