Centerpiece of Affordable Care Act, healthcare exchanges, open to public for the first time
POSTED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 9:01am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Open enrollment for Obamacare begins today even as republicans try to stop the health care law.
Online insurance marketplaces officially opened around the country, for the millions of uninsured Americans.
Today's roll out hasn't been perfect but the White House says the initial demand for insurance is even greater than they anticipated.
At one New York call center, staff fielded an array of questions.
In Washington DC, people waited for in-person help enrolling for Obamacare until the website stopped working-
The federally run online marketplace blamed heavy traffic when it began posting error messages.
And Maryland's state run exchange delayed its debut until noon.
President Obama called the glitches temporary.
"We are going to be speeding things up in the next couple hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything we expected," said Mr. Obama
Nate Hojnacki is among those seeking insurance.
His part time job doesn't offer care.
"Having a family history of lymphoma i think it would be a wise idea to be covered god forbid anything should happen," said Hojnacki.
But as the exchanges opened an NBC Kaiser survey found that 49 percent of the public is confused by the health care law.
"The word is going to get out about what is available, but i still think there's going to be a need to be a full force effort to educate the people about these changes," said Jennifer Tolbert, Director of State Health Reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Applicants must enroll by December 15th to be covered starting January 1st.
But they have until the end of March to sign up for healthcare and avoid tax penalties.
Today President Obama said that even before 7 this morning more than one million people had visited the Healthcare.Gov website.