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Health Insurance Marketplaces are open

And overwhelmed with visitors

Published: October 01, 2013 02:04 PM

The federal government may be shut down but the new state Health Insurance Marketplaces opened for business Tuesday morning right on schedule–and many were promptly overwhelmed with visitors. The New York marketplace put up a notice asking people to come back later because it was sagging from the clicks of the 2 million people who had visited the site within an hour and a half after it went live.

Healthcare.gov, which is operating marketplaces for the 37 states that declined to set up their own, was putting applicants into a virtual queue to wait their turn for a page that allowed them to set up an account. Covered California was turning people away during the morning hours and Kentucky's marketplace, kynect, put up an apology for crashing from the onslaught of visitors.

So much for predictions that consumers weren't going to be aware of the opening of the marketplaces or interested in getting insured. Turns out you're smarter than that!

If you're planning to use the marketplace to get health insurance for 2014, don't worry if you can't sign up today or even within the next couple of weeks. Open enrollment runs until March 31, 2014, and if you sign up for a health plan by Dec. 15, it will start right on Jan. 1. (Here's a complete list of state marketplaces for your convenience.)

While you're waiting for marketplace web traffic to subside, you might want to try our Health Law Helper, an interactive tool that will tell you exactly what you need to do in your personal situation (if anything) and how to pick a good plan for yourself.

Got a question for our health insurance expert? Ask it here.

—Nancy Metcalf

   

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