MADISON (WKOW) -- The federal government is closed, but the federal health exchange is open -- sort of.
Attempts by 27 News beginning to navigate HealthCare.gov after midnight on Monday, when enrollment began, were met with login problems and inability to move past enough screens to peruse insurance packages and prices. The live chat function was also busy and phone calls involved waits of more than one hour.
Local healthcare advocates don't seem worried, as they anticipated delays on the website.
"We knew there would be glitches and I think a lot of people are pounding it right now," Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC for Health, said. "The important takeaway is let the dust settle a little bit, give it two or three days. Once the newness factor wears off, you can go in and look at some of the options available and identify some coverage for yourself and your family."
Peterson says that the current website problems should not be a problem for enrollment, as people are still assessing their healthcare options.
"I don't think this is going to be the Oklahoma land rush for healthcare right now," Peterson said. "I think that once we get towards December 14, trying to get those applications in before the December 15 deadline, we'll see more pressure and more stress. But right now I think it's window shopping, assessment, and people trying to make up their minds."
Uninsured people must enroll by December 15 for coverage to begin on January 1, 2014.
The Department of Health and Human Services told Politico.com that it is "aware" of problems people are having logging into HealthCare.gov and is working to address them "as soon as possible." The department said in a statement that it has "built a dynamic system and are prepared to make adjustments as needed and improve the consumer experience."
Check back with WKOW.com. The Department of Health and Human Services will have an update on the status of Healthcare.gov in early afternoon on Tuesday.
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