Local folks dive into the Affordable Health Care insurance marketplace - web site overwhelmed
New insurance marketplace opens despite shutdown
6:30 PM, Oct 1, 2013
9:38 AM, Oct 2, 2013
TAMPA BAY - Jessi Spencer-Hammac is uninsured. Has been since she was 22 and she is now married with one child.
"Our family insurance is a little complex. I'm uninsured. My husband is insured through the Veteran's Administration and my daughter is currently insured through her step-mother in Virginia."
Jessi couldn't wait to check out the ACA marketplace and made an appointment with a navigator for opening day.
First the two logged on together- and established a user account. The next step, determine if Jessi is eligible for subsidies or cost sharing to bring down her out of pocket costs.
Jodi Ray, with the USF College of Public Health, explains what information is needed.
"We really only need basically their taxable income. So that when we fill out the application they can be evaluated for what would be the most cost effective plans available to them. We really don't need any medical information. Preexisting conditions are not relevant to their applying."
Which is a good thing for Jessi, who says she has a preexisting condition.
One slight problem - the healthcare.gov web site was down - likely due to heavy traffic.
In fact, President Obama said more than one million people visited healthcare.gov before 7 a.m. October 1.
So, they filled out paper applications instead.
"Based on the chart and where we fall income wise, well definitely get some help," Jessie said.
Jessi says she'll buy a policy on the marketplace for herself once the web site allows her to, and believes she can get it for less than $215 a month.
"Honestly, the basic level of care is more comprehensive than anything I saw shopping outside of the marketplace."
Shoppers in the Tampa Bay area will have over one hundred different policies to choose from.