Wisconsin health care exchanges hit roadblocks - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin health care exchanges hit roadblocks

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Big questions remain about exactly how the new health care law is going. Online health care exchanges opened two weeks ago. But it's unclear how many people in Wisconsin have signed up for insurance through the site.

Staff at the Marathon County Public Library say they've been ready for the health care law and the new online exchanges that came with it.

"We have plenty of space. Anybody who needs to use a computer for this, we'll find facilities available to do so," said Ralph Illick, director of Marathon County Public Library.

Enrollment specialists were trained to help people sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov.

There's just one problem.

"The website has been a problem. We do have a jam up on there," said Mary Testin, regional enrollment network coordinator.

The federal government hasn't said exactly how many people have tried to log in and sign up. But the White House did boast a few successes Friday on Twitter. Its tweets say thousands have enrolled in California, Kentucky, Washington, and New York. All those states are running their own exchanges. However, the federal government is running Wisconsin's exchange.

The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance offered the only numbers we've been able to find.

"We did do a very non scientific and informal outreach to the 13 issuers of qualified health plans," said Dan Schwartzer, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance.

According to that study, fewer than 50 people in the entire state were able to sign up the first week.

Health care workers are getting frustrated.

"If people cannot get on, we're going to start paper applications and help them because we have to get people enrolled. We can't continue to wait," said Testin.

The state wants to emphasize healthcare.gov isn't the only option.

"If you want to get a good comparison of what premiums are you really need to shop all over - both the exchange and the outside market," said Schwartzer.

The state expects a more detailed picture of the health care exchange next month.

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