Madison (WKOW)-- Monday marks the final day to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The March 31st deadline has caused a last minute rush to enroll in coverage through the federal marketplace online. Federal health insurance officials say website issues have delayed enrollment nationally and here in Southern Wisconsin.
Federal officials say heavy traffic to healthcare.gov caused malfunctions to the website on Monday. At one point they say more than 100,000 people were logging on at the same time. It caused problems for counselors locally at Access Community Health Centers.
"If people already have an application started we're able to move it along, but we're waiting for more information on what's going to be happening with the website," Chief Strategy Officer Tammy Quall says.
Health care counselors in Madison say the entire month of March has been quite busy. They say a line of six people was waiting for them outside the front door before the center even opened on Monday.
People who have started their application will have until April 7th to complete it, but counselors locally say they've encountered numerous people who were just starting to apply during the deadline and had a tough time logging on.
Monday also marks the final day of coverage for 77,000 people on BadgerCare. Many of these former enrollees are now seeking insurance on the federal marketplace.
"There are people who don't know today that they're losing their healthcare. Thousands of people won't know it," Democratic state senator Jon Erpenbach says.
Wisconsin Democrats held a press conference Monday calling on the governor and other republicans to accept the federal money for a medicaid expansion. The governor's decision to not accept that federal money caused these 77,000 people to be taken off of BadgerCare coverage.
Democrats Monday also said state officials should have done more to inform these people who are no longer covered through BadgerCare. The Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance however, say their communication efforts were extensive, including letters, phone calls and e-mails to the people affected.
Both the DHS and Commissioner of Insurance's Office plan to release numbers in April that show how many former BadgerCare enrollees have successfully transitioned to being covered under the federal exchange.
Health insurance counselors are advising people who had trouble enrolling for insurance during the deadline to contact federal health officials by phone at 1800-318-2596 or by e-mail and leave a message. Even if you missed the deadline counselors say the federal government may make exceptions because of the website issues on Monday.
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