New York state's web site for people seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s new exchange appears to be working again. Just after noon today, a message that new applications could not be processed had been taken down. Meantime, Families USA held a teleconference with state exchange officials and navigators to get an update on progress in enrolling citizens.
During the Families USA teleconference, the group's executive director Ron Pollack went to bat for Obamacare, defending the long enrollment period and what many frustrated users have found to be a tedious enrollment process.
Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Community Service Society of New York, was one of the "official navigators" on the call. She says they're fielding around 578 calls a week, and 88 percent are people looking to set up an appointment with an enrollment counselor.
Benjamin says she's proud to be a navigator and shared a story about one New Yorker she assisted: a home care worker from the Bronx who earns minimum wage.
Technical issues with the federal ACA website are being overshadowed by security issues. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday that healthcare-dot-gov has not yet obained a permanent site certificate, essentially a "security voucher." Demian Fontanella, General Counsel, Office of the Healthcare Advocate in Connecticut, acknowledged on the call that there were five failed hacking attempts against the Connecticut system.
Elisabeth Benjamin says New York should be commended for its commitment to helping make Obamacare accessible. Federal officials promise all healthcare-dot-gov website-sign-up glitches will be fixed by the end of November. In fairness, Time magazine reports that Families USA received a $1 Million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation to disseminate Pro-ObamaCare stories.