Enrollment Growing in Alaska

enrollalaskaAlaska State officials announced last week that the health insurance marketplace is making progress, but the federally run website is still experiencing some glitches.

From its launch on October 1, navigators, In-Person Assisters, and brokers helping Alaskans sign-up for insurance have expressed frustration over the technical issues that barred many from completing enrollment on Healthcare.gov during its first month.

But recently, the site has begun to turn around, said Susan Johnson, Region X Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Enroll Alaska has enrolled 86 people in the online marketplace and 36 apart from the website so far – most in the recent weeks, said Chief Operating Officer, Tyann Boling.

“I would say on a scale of one to 10 it’s operating at about a seven,” Boling said about HealthCare.gov. “Our enrollment numbers are coming up dramatically. Yesterday we were able to enroll 14 people. Two weeks ago that would’ve been impossible.”

Enroll Alaska continues to see steady growth and improvements of the website, and has been able to enroll both individuals and families with dependents.

Yet the site has lingering problems. “The capacity is not there,” Boling said. Healthcare.gov was not built to handle the volume of users who have been logging in at one time, “so sometimes it functions really well and sometimes it crashes,” she said.

In Alaska, there are two plans offering plans through the federal exchange, Premera Blue Cross and Moda Health.

As of December 1, Moda had enrolled 197 Alaskans in medical plans and 57 in dental plans. Moda Health covers around 11,000 individuals in Alaska, mostly through employers.

No numbers have been received yet from Premera.

Both insurers and navigators are hopeful that they will see progress by the end of the year.