GLENWOOD SPRINGS — At the end of Oct. 1, the first day of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) online registration of consumers seeking health insurance, more than 12 million hits had been recorded on the website, connectforhealthco.com, according to information released at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
According to Ben Davis, spokesman for Connect For Health Colorado (C4H), there were more than 79,000 “unique website visitors,” meaning those who logged on once and stayed on.
Customer service representatives, essentially a phone bank for consumers with questions, reportedly logged 3,700 “chats” and calls with consumers on Tuesday.
All that activity resulted in creation of 5,500 accounts for shoppers seeking insurance policies that are to take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2014, according to a statement from C4H, which also stated that the average length of “wait time” for callers was three minutes and 49 seconds.
The customer service center for the C4H, according to the statement, is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturday from now until March 31, 2014, the day that this first open enrollment period for will end.
Locally, Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties are acting together to process applications for ACA-related health insurance policies, using several phone numbers staffed by people known as “health coverage guides,” who answer questions about the Affordable Care Act, participating insurance carriers, how to get on the C4H website and begin shopping, and other matters related to the rollout of the health insurance marketplaces.
Eagle County Director of Communications Kris Friel, after deadline Tuesday night, forwarded the numbers to be used by residents in El Jebel (Yolanda Thierfelder, 970-471-3554), Glenwood Springs (Jennie Quevedo, 970-471-3510) and Rifle (Sonia Acosta, 970-471-5964).
Nationally, according to a report by the Business Insider online news site, roughly 2.8 million people logged on to healthcare.gov, the main website for the 36 states that opted to not put together their own exchange but to let the federal government do it for them.
Other state-run websites recorded high visitation numbers, such as 7.5 million in New York, and 57,000 unique visitors to kynect.com, Kentucky’s site.
In Nevada, the state exchange reported creating 2,179 accounts as of 1 p.m. local time, which allowed the owners of those accounts to go online and shop for insurance coverage.
In Iowa, the news from the Des Moines Register was that the federally run website (Iowa opted out of creating its own exchange) drew 4.7 million visitors by Wednesday afternoon, although the headline of the story was that the site was “still beset by glitches on its second day.”