Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act went into effect Tuesday, but it got off to a very rocky start.
The website, where you're supposed to be able to shop for different health insurance plans, is down. It's not just frustrating for people trying to sign up, but also for healthcare providers.
The St. Joseph Regional Medical Center set up a program to help people navigate healthcare.gov. But that's hard to do if the website isn't working.
Andre Waddell with the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center thought he would be helping people enroll in health insurance plans.
"This is something new that has not been experienced by many Americans," Waddell said.
But he had to cancel all of Tuesday's appointments because the website, where you can access the health insurance marketplace, crashed due to a high volume of visitors.
"It says: the health insurance marketplace," said Waddell reading off his computer screen. "Please wait. We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better."
"We're all tremendously disappointed," said Albert Gutierrez, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.
St. Joseph scheduled 80 appointments this month with people who need help navigating healthcare.gov, but with the website down and no answer as to when it'll be back up, they may have to try to use good old pen and paper to sign people up for insurance.
"Some individuals have called and said, 'wasn't the government prepared for this?'" said Waddell.
"They should've been well prepared for this," said Tony White, who doesn't have health insurance.
"It's really tough. Medications and stuff that I really need that I can't get," he said.
He planned on checking out the health care insurance marketplace Wednesday morning, but that may have to wait. While he's annoyed by the inconvenience, others are more forgiving.
"All I know is Obamacare is a plus and it's a plus for a lot of people where I live," said Tawnee Kelly-Reed, who went for years without health insurance.
But first, the website just has to get up and running.
The website is healthcare.gov/. There is also a 24/7 hotline you can call to try to get help with enrollment, 1-800-318-2596.
For more information on getting help at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, call 855-900-0024 or visit www.sjmed.com/aca.