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Users tackle obstacles as health insurance deadline approaches

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Users tackle obstacles as health insurance deadline approaches

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Dec 20, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Just days before a deadline arrives, some users are still having trouble trying to purchase health insurance through the state's online exchange.

People who want coverage from a purchased plan by Jan. 1 must enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange said on Friday that it's taking steps to help people overcome obstacles and make the deadline.

"For the most part, the site is pretty easy to navigate but that's when it's running properly," said Jon Johnson of Las Vegas.

Johnson is one of several people who emailed Action News this week after running into problems on the Nevada Health Link website. Johnson is employed full time and his employer offered insurance, but Johnson said he was hoping to get a better deal on the exchange.

For the last four days, he's been stuck in the enrollment process thanks to an error message on the website.

"Oh it's frustrating," Johnson said.

Johnson said he tried calling the help line but couldn't get through. 

"I am very concerned I'm going to miss the deadline," Johnson said. "This is why I sent you guys an email."

Insurance broker Dominic Massi of Henderson knows the feeling.

"My experience this week is it just kept giving an error message," said Massi.

Massi said he had some success later in the week; he enrolled two clients on Friday. Several other people who emailed Action News with website problems said they were successful in enrolling later in the week as well. 

"You have to be persistent and keep trying to log back in to get back to the page where you left off and see if the system kicks in," said Massi.

The health exchange said it installed two updates this week on Wednesday and Thursday that seem to be helping people using the website. The call centers are expected to have 99 people answering phones over the weekend, nearly double the number from earlier in the week. 

Jon Hager, executive director of the exchange, said the deadline to pay for a plan that's submitted by Monday night has been extended to 6 p.m. on Dec. 27; still, Hager said people who have selected a plan should pay as soon as possible to make sure insurance companies get their information in a timely manner.

"We don't want to leave anybody behind so we recognize folks have had problems," Hager said in a telephone interview with Action News from Carson City. "We are working on processes to reach out to those folks and get them through the process and make sure that people have the coverage they need."

Hager stressed that people can continue to enroll in plans after Monday night, however the coverage likely would not begin on the first of the new year.

The call centers are set to open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the weekend.

Johnson said he's sent several emails to customer service and hopes his issue gets solved.

"I know there are people out there going through the process that I'm going through right now," Johnson said.