Local folks dive into the Affordable Health Care insurance marketplace - web site overwhelmed

New insurance marketplace opens despite shutdown

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.

To check out the marketplace go to: www.healthcare.gov 1-800-318-2596

To make an appointment with a navigator in Hillsborough, Pinellas or Pasco:

USF: Wendy Hathaway ( whathaway@health.usf.edu)

813-974-9088 office 813-727-9677 cell

USF: Xonjenese Jacobs ( xjacobs@health.usf.edu)

813-974-7735  office  813-727-8906 cell

USF Michelle Ray ( michelleray@health.usf.edu)

813-974-7735  office

The Family Healthcare Foundation 813-995-1066

HHS Call Center 1-800-318-2596



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