The health insurance Marketplace went live on Tuesday. Now, people in many states are able to shop for insurance. But here in Montana, glitches with the online Marketplace are creating a standstill.
"The Marketplace, I think, is being overwhelmed. It's saying that the system is unavailable. My bet is there's a whole lot of people out there pretty excited for this day to come. It's been talked about for a long time," says Carol Blank, Clinic Manager at RiverStone Health.
Thirty-six states don't have their own Marketplace and are using the one that's run by the Federal Government. According to Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen, those states are the ones experiencing the glitches, including Montana. The standstill is not allowing Montanans to shop for health insurance, but the delay shouldn't be much of an issue.
"You have until December 15th to sign up. So there's no rush. There's no reason to panic, there's no rush," says Blank.
If you purchase insurance through the Marketplace from now through December 15th, it will be effective January 1st. But you can still shop after that. The Marketplace will remain open through March 31st with approximately a six week lag until your insurance is effective. That's six months total for you to decide if the Marketplace is the right way to go.
"People have time to collect their information, ask their questions, look at their options, make some decisions, talk to the Certified Application Counselor to make sure they're getting every, all the right information, every benefit they can, and then make a decision how they want to move forward," says John Felton, President and CEO of RiverStone Health.
RiverStone Health Certified Application Counselors are available to answer questions, compare insurance plans, and sit with you one on one to help guide you through the process. The counselors are hopeful, in just a few days, the Marketplace will be fully operational in Montana.