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Rogers Park woman, unfazed by website glitches, will keep trying to get health insurance

Updated: November 3, 2013 6:33AM



Self-employed Rogers Park resident Heidi Massey is undeterred over website glitches that kept her from shopping at the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace on its opening day Tuesday.

Despite the hiccups, she believes she’ll ultimately benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

Things initially were going smoothly for Massey as she read through website instructions and typed in personal profile information while sitting in her apartment midmorning Tuesday.

“So far it’s easy,” she said.

But after creating a password and attempting to put in security questions and answers, she was greeted by a rolling ball on the screen.

An attempt to get help from a chat room was greeted with notice that the live chat was not available.

A call to a helpline connected her to someone after she was placed on hold for about 10 minutes. Massey was told the site was “messing up” amid the high volume of visitors, and she was instructed to try again later.

After a few more failed attempts in the course of just under an hour, she opted to wait to try at another time.

“It’s a bummer that this is happening,” said Massey, but she contended the high traffic was a sign of how great the need is for coverage.

Consumers can enroll in the marketplace through Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, and the full open enrollment period for 2014 coverage extends through March 31.

“I will try until I get in,” said Massey, who earns about $43,000 a year.

The technology and social media consultant now pays $300 a month for insurance that covers her for catastrophic events, but includes no preventive care or prescription drug coverage, she said. She takes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medicine that costs about $155 a month. She also takes a thyroid medicine that runs her around $40 a month, she said, adding, she recently had a physical and expects to soon receive a bill for $810 to cover that visit and medical tests.

Information she looked for on the Kaiser Family Foundation health care website suggested she should be able to get insurance at the Illinois marketplace at a lower premium rate than she’s paying now while getting more extensive coverage, including preventive care and prescription drug coverage, she said.

“If I can get decent insurance for under $200 a month, I can afford that,” she said. “It’s taking away the cost of medicine. If I don’t have to pay that anymore or if I pay significantly less, there’s my insurance money right there.”

She wasn’t frustrated over the technical glitches reported across the country and believes they were to be expected.

“This is a brand new program, never been done before,” she said. “I don’t know if they had any clue that this many people were going to jump on. . . . But I’m guessing they have got some pretty smart people working on this, and they’re going to get it together pretty quickly.”

Email: fknowles@suntimes.com

Twitter:@KnowlesFran



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