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Access Health Enrollment Starts Today, But Expect Glitches

by Christine Stuart | Oct 1, 2013 5:24am
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care

Josalee Thrift file photo

Universal Health Care Foundation advocates reach the state Capitol to rally for a public option back on April 27, 2011

No amount of rigorous testing will prevent the state’s healthcare marketplace from experiencing glitches when it opens today.

State officials at Access Health CT, the state’s insurance exchange, said they’ve done their best to prepare for opening day, but there are likely to be errors discovered once “live and actual users” begin using the system.

“We know there will be defects that we will continue to uncover as we roll out this system to residents,” Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said Monday in a press release. “As issues are identified, we are committed to fixing them quickly, as well as reaching out to individuals who may be affected as needed.”

The new online portal will allow consumers to compare plans side-by-side and decide which may be the best health insurance plan for their personal situation. Recently released census data estimate that 284,000 of the state’s nearly 3.6 million residents were uninsured at some point in 2012. Other estimates put the figure at 344,000 uninsured.

Peter Van Loon, chief operating officer of Access Health CT, reiterated the organization’s commitment to customer service and privacy. He suggested that if “substantial system wide problems” are found, they will temporarily shut the system down to address them.

The information technology piece of the virtual marketplace was a three-year project crammed into 10 months, according to Counihan.

But just because the doors are open doesn’t mean a lot of people will be signing up for an insurance plan that doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014. A lot of people probably won’t want to start paying their premiums three months before they can actually benefit from them, so Counihan has said he expects the largest enrollment period to be in December and the following March.

For the past few months, Counihan has been trying to lower expectations for the exchange and urging patience at the same time his team has been trying to spread the word about exactly what it is that the exchange does and doesn’t do.

Counihan has estimated a small number of people will be able to get through the application process without help. If a person wants to apply it will probably take 55-minutes, and that’s if they have all the necessary paperwork.

People with questions should call Access Health CT at 855-805-4325 or check out their website, , which goes live today. Enrollment runs through March 31.

Three companies in the individual market and three in the small group market will be offering three levels of plans to consumers in Connecticut. Individual coverage is being offered by ConnectiCare Benefits, Anthem Health Plans Inc., and HealthyCT. Small group plans are being offered by United Healthcare, Anthem Health Plans Inc., and HealthyCT.

Click here to learn more about the monthly premiums and to see if you qualify for a federal subsidy.

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(15) Comments

posted by: Art Vandelay | October 1, 2013  9:29am

I’ll take the Penalty.  S—ew Obama, the Marxist Socialist Democrats & Obamacare.
States like Wyoming, Montana, and others are doing everything possible to avoid establishing exchanges and implementing the program yet Connecticut jumps right into it with some of the highest premiums of the states choosing to participate.  Obamacare needs to implode and fast.

posted by: goldwing | October 1, 2013  10:19am

What a joke, website doesn’t even load, and says “using and outdated or unknown browser”, no matter what browser (up to date) is being used.  Good luck with that.

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 1, 2013  10:34am


Whining will get you nowhere. Are you planning on refusing your Social Security and Medicare at 65? No? Then maybe you should stifle that rant with a hypocrisy sandwich and accept reality.

posted by: goldwing | October 1, 2013  10:46am

I’m not against it, everyone should have at least basic health care.  So many people without it now and go to ER’s for health care are what make the costs rise for the rest of us that do.  My 27 y.o. has no health insurance because she can only temp or part time while in school.  I’m always worried something will happen to her and she will be paying a hospital bill for the rest of her life.

posted by: Art Vandelay | October 1, 2013  10:47am

To Gutbomb86:  It’s sad that the Government hooked you on drug (Social Security & Medicare)that you are now totally dependent on. Now they are providing a new drug to you in the form of Obamacare.  This is exactly what the Founding Fathers warned us about.  I worked and saved my entire life so I resent the fact that the government took money out of my paycheck for the drugs that hooked you on these programs. My guess is that your are indebted to your supplier the Democrat Party.

posted by: ALD | October 1, 2013  10:58am

Gutbomb, I seldom if ever agree with your points of view, but I do this time.  It’s time for the Republicans to throw in the towel on this.  Like all government programs it will never go away, it will never work as planned, it will never be cost effective, and it will only get bigger.  But it is what it is, and no matter how hard the Republicans try the reality is, it ain’t ever going away. 

The only thing the Republicans are accomplishing here is lessening their chances to keep control of the House, and win control of the Senate next year.  Just pathetic, because as I now see it the Democrats are driving us off a cliff, and the Republicans are making sure nothing gets in their way.

posted by: JH_1 | October 1, 2013  12:20pm

I agree 100% with ALD.  The ACA is the law, whether we like it or not.

I was disappointed with with how Republicans handled this the past few weeks.  Don’t try to defund it or do any funny stuff with it. 

If the majority of Americans truly don’t want it like they’ve been telling us, then get those people to the polls next year.

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 1, 2013  12:45pm


Art - it’s pretty clear that you don’t have the first clue about the ACA or the founding fathers. Harping on marxism or socialism in this context is so incredibly dense that there really isn’t much need to respond to it. Your characterizations of the ACA and the gov’t are nothing short of ridiculous.

ALD - that’s pragmatic of you.

That said, you’re selling short millions of good people who work hard and effectively. If the gov’t can’t do anything right then you may want to go ahead and tear up your diploma and driver’s license and ignore safety labels on drugs, tear up your home owner’s policy, forget how to dial 911 in an emergency because you don’t deserve those services. Further, forget using a telephone or telecommunications of any kind. Cut the seat belts out of your vehicle ... just hunker down on your own property until you starve to death.

People who hate gov’t essentially hate our country. Gov’t of the people, for the people. It’s integral to the USA and it’s not going away. If people really want to live off the grid, you’ve got a long way to go.

posted by: Art Vandelay | October 1, 2013  1:20pm

To Gutbomb86,
I do know enough about the ACA to know that it is the initial step to a total takeover of our healthcare system by the government. Like all government programs they start out simple and grow in size. Social Security, Medicare are perfect examples. The ACA will be no different. Within a short period of time it will evolve into a single payer system. As far as my knowledge about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, I’ve read the Federalist Papers, and biographies on most of the participants at the Convention in Philadelphia. I have a Masters In History and am well red.  I’ve also read biographies on Wilson, Eugene V. Debs, Marx, Engles and yes Obama.  I don’t hate this country. I just do not want it taken over by Socialists. Government can only do so much.  Yes great strides have been made in the areas of product safety, child labor, work condition etc etc. I believe health care can best be managed through simple supply & demand through the private sector.

posted by: ALD | October 1, 2013  3:41pm

Gutbomb, I certainly don’t hate government nor the vast majority of hard working people it employes.  But I do hate it’s inefficiencies. I also have no tolerance for politicians from BOTH parties,  who put partisan party politics ahead of what is best for the country as a whole.  I also hate how programs like this become the tools these politicians use to buy themselves votes.  My concern is less about what the ACA looks like now.  But what it will look like in 10 years as these guys turn it into the gift that never stops giving to buy votes.

I do agree that there is a LOT that government does that it does well.  Unfortunately right now in case you haven’t noticed, those we have sent to Washington regardless of party have pretty much all become part of the problem. It seems to be something that happens pretty fast in Washington.  Only a few months on the job, breathing whatever they breath there seems to do the trick.

I think you have it 180 degrees backwards. We have a system that requires that they must listen to, and work with, each other to function, and to further all our best interests.  But they are so determined to hate each other, not give an inch,and put party first, that they are failing the country. To me if they fail us then it is they who at least indirectly must hate our system.

No, I don’t hate our government.  I hate it when partisan party politics makes it dysfunctional, like it has now.

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 1, 2013  4:32pm


@ALD - great points. One of the things that helps to eliminate inefficiency in gov’t is better investment. Having spent a career in the private sector I’ve certainly seen very little evidence that the private sector is immune to inefficiency and poor management. In fact, the private sector wrote the book on inefficiency and poor management. Far more companies have come and gone than gov’t agencies, which have the benefit of public disclosure to protect them from failure.

@Art - It’s one thing to read the books. . . You comment here as though you’re a paid to do so. You parrot ill-conceived Republican Party rhetoric directly from AM radio. The Red Scare was an embarrassing part of our history and you’re trying to revive it. Thanks but no thanks. Doesn’t apply to healthcare or the USA or really anything discussed here. It’s just something they say on the radio to fire up listeners who were around in the 1950s and who can’t admit that the president is a US citizen. This country is a complex mixture of ideas and systems with a tiered, multi-branch government infrastructure designed to operate as a representative democracy. Has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with people being “addicted” to entitlements like simple access to medical care. And by the way, we pay for those. They are ours. Social Security is ours. Medicare is ours. You call them addictions but let’s face it - when you pay for something it’s yours. It’s not addiction - it’s OWNERSHIP. Those of us who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare also need to go to the doctor once in a while.

When you’re ready to go without any access to medical care, feel free to chime in. Until then, I expect you’ll keep riding through webtown screaming “the socialism is coming!”

posted by: ALD | October 1, 2013  6:45pm

Gut, Enjoying a civil, and adult conversation with someone I consider a liberal!!!  I must say it is a refreshing change!

I too spent an entire career in the private sector. I retired as the SVP of a multi billion dollar international company that used to have many jobs here in CT.  They are all mostly now gone out of state.

No one gave me anything. I started out on the factory floor out of college with just my various engineering degrees, and my MBA. But there actually was a time here in CT when that, a chance, and hard work was all you needed to have a fair shot to make it, like I did.  Of course the key as that there was actually a job there that gave me that chance in the first place.

I agree no question the private sector is NOT immune to stupidity, as well as internal politics that can bring down even the strongest company.  Believe me after a 35 year business career I have seen it happen many times.

That is why when I see our local Democratic Congressional representatives, who claim to the uninformed masses in this state, who rubber stamp nothing but failed Democrats to office time and time again to be above the fray, I can not remain silent. They are all, old and new right in there, along with the rest of the Republicans and Democrats in Washington being at least as big a part of the problem. To me they all now represent that failure is our only option.

I really wish we had term limits for Congress. Right now one term seems far too long for me. I really wish these guys all were the first victims of a government shutdown.  They deserve to pay the price for their incompetence more than anyone else. They have failed our country. They are in fact just perfect examples of all that is wrong in our country.

posted by: Lawrence | October 1, 2013  9:14pm

The Heritage Foundation proposes it and Mitt Romney implements it and it’s brilliant; Obama takes it nationwide and it sucks?

Tea party traitors, please leave America to the Americans. Just go. Anywhere but here.

posted by: dano860 | October 1, 2013  11:29pm

Social security is broken. They have ruined it by pilfering for bogus programs. Now it gets tossed into the CR’s because the party in charge has never passed a budget.
Personally I wish I never put a penny in it, I could have done much better in the market. Yes, they can kill it as far I’m concerned. Medicare, I still have a separate policy with my own private doctors. The B.S. That goes with the stuff is mind numbing. Get the government out of this stuff.
As far as health care, nothing has changed there…it is the insurance side that has changed, that’s the supposed AFFORDABLE part. You still have doctors and nurses doing the same thing but the payment method has become more confusing. It is also why doctors are setting up private groups so they don’t have to take the Medicare and ACA clients.
As far as Romney and Massachusetts, what you have going forward isn’t the same thing. Also, the Republicans in Mass. had very little to do with that plan, the Dems crafted it and since they ran the show up there he only signed it into law. Sure he could have vetoed it but he would have never gotten any of the good things he implemented done. You need to understand the give and take under them domes.
The ACA apparently isn’t working in Mass either.

posted by: Art Vandelay | October 2, 2013  6:10am

To Gutbomb86,
I do not listen to AM radio nor am I their paid spokesman. I never mentioned the Red Scare, and yes people ARE addicted to entitlements.  As to your comments about Social Security, it’s a PONZI scheme. If it were a private sector insurance corporation the executives would be jailed. Would you place your money into a retirement policy where if you pass on prior to collecting, your heirs would receive nothing? The government should simply call it a tax, because that is exactly what it is. The federal policies we now have in place are Socialistic. To Lawerence, the Tea Party is not a traitor organization. It’s made up of Americans who believe in the principles for which this country originally stood for.