Volunteers seek young people for Obamacare signups - WSMV Channel 4

Volunteers seek young people for Obamacare signups

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's been three weeks since the government's new insurance exchange web site made its debut, but bugs are still keeping people from signing up for the health coverage they need.

Still, supporters of the program aren't giving up.

Social service agencies in Nashville say they're signing people up by using paper applications or the telephone, but those processes are expected to be slow because of the volume and processing time.

There is also concern that frustration levels will slow interest in the program.

Jackie Shrago, a volunteer for Get Covered Nashville, was working Wednesday on the Tennessee State University campus to get young people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

They are the people the program needs to succeed financially: young people whose premiums will help subsidize care for older or sicker enrollees.

"They're young, they're basically healthy, and we just need to find a plan that works for them," Shrago said.

The fear is that the target audience may give up because signing up on the government web site has been such a disaster.

"When I went online to check on the Obamacare plan, the site was down," said TSU graduate student Jullian Leggs.

Leggs said he may end up submitting a paper application.

"In Tennessee, the insurance would be about $225," said volunteer Jackie Shrader.

Officials in Washington, DC, said Wednesday the administration is tackling the web site's technical problems one-by-one.

"There is no question that we did not anticipate the scale of the problems with the web site," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Will Wyatt, who organizes a Nashville agency that helps consumers sign up, says people are losing their patience and are frustrated.

"We're doing our best to educate and pacify people so they don't fall of the edge and step away from the exchanges altogether," Wyatt said.

Wyatt said one consumer who was actually able to enroll online found the information transmitted to his insurance company of choice wasn't right.

"Fields were missing and some information was duplicated, so they had to redo the application," Wyatt said.

The clock is ticking as the deadline for almost everyone to have health insurance is mid-February 2014. There's talk in Washington about relaxing that deadline because of all the problems.

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