Affordable Care Act questions, confusion linger

Kokomo man describes site as 'nightmare'

INDIANAPOLIS - More than a month after the launch of the online health insurance marketplace, unanswered questions and confusion over the cost over coverage under the Affordable Care Act continues.

Hundreds of thousands of people have applied for coverage nationwide, but it's unclear how many are actually enrolled.

Steve Ashba, of Kokomo, is one of more than 900,000 uninsured Indiana residents. The first day the marketplace opened, he went online to sign up for coverage.

But after six weeks and 60 hours on the website, he still isn't enrolled. He described it as a "nightmare."

Ashba finished the application, which is the first step, but that's as far as he has been able to get on healthcare.gov.

"I can't get to the point to see the plans. I can't see what my costs will be and select a plan," he said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it's making progress on the speed and reliability of the site.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week that the website is now capable of registering 17,000 people an hour.

Because of technical difficulties, it's not known how many have enrolled for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that 55 percent of Americans think they have enough information to understand how the new health care law will affect them, up 8 percent from when the site launched on Oct. 1.

A community outreach event in Indianapolis last week showed that questions are still being asked.

Enrollment is open through March 31, 2014, but people must sign up by Dec. 15 to have coverage starting the first of next year.

"I just hope and pray I can still healthy 'til Jan. 1," Ashba said.

Indiana is one of 36 states using the federally operated health insurance marketplace. Sebelius said the website will be fully functional by the end of November.

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