Uninsured Americans in Nevada are so desperate to get health coverage under Obamacare that many are calling the state’s new insurance marketplace “in tears.”
Kevin Walsh, a senior Xerox official who heads the department that is helping some states maintain their online Obamacare marketplaces and call centers, told Bloomberg Businessweek that many people had contacted Nevada’s Obamacare hotline with “just raw emotion” within the first hour that the marketplace was open on Tuesday. Nevada has an adult uninsurance rate of 27 percent — the fifth highest in the country.
“They were calling up saying, ‘Can I get my coverage today so I can see my doctor this afternoon?’” said Walsh. “That is in one sense moving but also frustrating because, sure, you can sign up — but the coverage can’t be effective until January 1st.”
Uninsured Americans and those with costly or skimpy health plans have been rushing to sign up for health coverage under the law, although technical glitches have delayed the enrollment process for some of them. Those who have successfully enrolled say that they are pleased with the new coverage they will be getting beginning in January.
Even some ardent Republicans and Obamacare skeptics who signed up for coverage are admitting that the law will be a financial boon to them and give them peace of mind. Butch Matthews, a lifelong Republican and initial proponent of repealing the law, told ThinkProgress that it would end up saving him $13,000 per year on medical costs. “I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along,” he said.
Nevada is one of the 14 states that is running its own Obamacare marketplace. After facing initial technical problems, the website and call centers have been running smoothly, according to state officials. The Nevada Health Link Twitter account reported that the site had 77,000 unique visitors by the end of the second day of open enrollment, and logged about 2,500 phone calls and 18,806 active accounts. There has been such heavy interest in Obamacare’s marketplaces throughout the country that some of the websites have been overloaded with traffic.
The open enrollment period for Obamacare extends through March of 2014.