Colorado health exchange busy; techies to address glitches

The online Colorado health-insurance marketplace was expected to be in full operation today after a glitch marred Day 1 of the individual mandate.

ConnectforHealthColorado.com logged more than 57,000 visitors by 4 p.m. Monday. Some 1,400 people opened accounts on the website during the first day of open enrollment for the individual mandate to buy health insurance.

“We were very pleased with the interest we saw today,” Patty Fontneau, executive director and CEO of the online marketplace, said Monday afternoon.

The Colorado marketplace is separate from the federal exchange, which operated in states that opted against creating their own marketplaces.

As such, ConnectforHealthColorado.com had more participating companies than any other marketplace, officials have said.

In Grand Junction, health insurance guides working with Hilltop Health Access were fielding more phone calls than customers walking in the door at 602 Bookcliff Ave., office manager Rhonda Lofing said.

The preponderance of customers appeared to be people a bit too young to qualify for Medicare, Lofing said. Many also were the younger half of couples in which one was covered by Medicare and the other not, but without retiree or other health insurance, Lofing said.

The Hilltop Health Access office has three full-time guides and four part-timers, and will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The office also is open 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Guides help consumers through the steps to enroll for coverage at ConnectforHealthColorado.com. Consumers also can deal with 1,400 certified brokers across the state.

“I’m going to give them a solid B,” Randy Pifer of Active Insurance Solutions, 940 Colorado Ave., said of the first day.

Pifer, like others, had to deal with error messages from the website, but market officials worked quickly and efficiently to clear up the issues, Pifer said.

“It was down for a while but then it was up and running just fine,” Pifer said.

His customers tended to be in the 35 to 45 age range, and they in some cases qualified for significant tax benefits they could use to pay their premiums, Pifer said.


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