KENT, Wash. -- Despite the jump in enrollment numbers, many people are voicing their frustration over technical problems with the Washington Healthplanfinder website.
Some of them have been trying to sign up for two months now.
"I've been trying since October,” said Steve Horne of Kent. “About four or five times a week.”
Horne has been trying to apply for insurance on the Washington Healthplanfinder website. As a disabled plumber who injured his knee on the job, he's covered. But his wife hasn't had insurance for two months.
"I'm just trying to no go into panic mode,” said Marilee Horne. “I won't go there.”
But no matter how many times Horne entered his wife's information, he was constantly confronted and confounded by error pages.
To make matters worse, repeated calls to the helpline didn't go through.
"A recording came up that they were busy and they couldn't help me now, call back later,” said Horne.
But he worries soon it'll be too late. The deadline to enroll is December 23 in order to get insurance on January 1, 2014.
"At the way it's going, she's not going to have insurance by the first of the year,” he said.
Healthplanfinder spokesperson Michael Marchand says the error messages can be triggered by simple mistakes or inconsistencies in data entry.
"We're as frustrated as the consumers are with the error messages on our website,” said Marchand.
As for the call center in Spokane, Marchand admits they're overwhelmed.
"The call center volume we're seeing today is roughly ten times the volume we had forecasted,” he said. “We're seeing the same call center volume that California had forecasted for their exchange.”
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is doubling their staff at the call center, and Marchand says they’re working every day to fix the error messages holding up the website.
They're asking people for patience and perseverance.
The Hornes finally emailed Washington Healthplanfinder about their problems, and a staff member called them back and set up an appointment for Thursday.