Senator Whitehouse visits HealthSource RI - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Senator Whitehouse visits HealthSource RI

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Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

PROVIDENCE - While system malfunctions nationwide have made it hard for many to sign up for Obamacare local politicians say that in Rhode Island problems have been minimal in comparison.

Since launching on October 1st. HealthSource RI here has sign up over 2,600 people... but that didn't' all happen smoothly.

The web site had its glitches. And though those pushing for the benefits of Obamacare say, those issues were minimal at best, some who actually had to deal with the problems first hand don't agree.

The call center at HealthSource RI is now up and running, with more people than ever before. Since early interest in programs under the Affordable Care Act resulted in web site crashes across the country, phone lines have remained open,  hoping to serve people who couldn't get through online.

"There hasn't been a problem with the product, there's been a problem with web site crashes and being swamped and overwhelmed with early interest," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who toured the call center today.

The White House says that more than 19 million people have visited healthcare.gov, though only half a million people have applied for insurance on the federal and state–run web sites.

Many just can't handle the volume.

On October first, when it opened, Rhode Island's web site crashed and remained down for about two hours.

"Really these were very minor issues, they all had to do with the number of hits we were getting instantaneously on the server, I mean, I think we were getting 6 thousand page requests a minute," said Ian Lang, Marketing Director for HealthSource RI.

But for some who had problems with the site... The issues didn't seem minor at all.

On our Facebook page, Warren from Warwick told ABC6 News that he and his wife had a "horrible" time trying to get medical coverage through HealthSource RI, and that it took them over 2 weeks to sign up, with the help of others who had to get involved.

According to Senator Whitehouse, those who had issues before, might as well try to sign up again.

"Come on it, call the folks on the phone, go on the web site, whatever your best avenue is but give it a try. What do you have to lose?" he said.

 

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