Obamacare exchanges: High demand, poor reviews, poll says

Millions of Americans have tried to purchase health insurance through the online marketplaces that debuted on October 1 under Obamacare, but thus far, the reviews have not been pretty, according to a new Associated Press/GFK Poll.

Seven percent of Americans surveyed said that someone in their household has tried to purchase insurance through the marketplaces - a figure that could represent over 20 million people.

But three quarters of those who tried to purchase insurance reported problems with their experience. Only one in 10 were able to actually buy an insurance plan.

Overall, 40 percent of Americans said the launch of the online marketplace hasn't gone well. Twenty percent said it's gone somewhat well, and only seven percent said the debut has gone very well. Thirty percent weren't prepared to render a verdict.

George Spinner, 60, a retired government employee from Virginia, told the Associated Press that he was able create an account and password before the process stalled.

"It kept telling me there was an error," he said.

Others were more pleased with the experience. Janice Brown, a part-time travel agent from California, told the Associated Press she was able to download an application to buy an insurance plan for $1,500 a month for herself and her husband - $1000 less than her current plan.

"I'm thrilled," said Brown. "The coverage is better. It's fantastic."

Residents in 36 states can purchase health coverage through healthcare.gov, the website administered by the federal government to process the insurance exchanges. Other states administer their own websites and exchanges.

The websites' debut at the start of October was marked by a parade of glitches, with users frequently receiving error messages and the websites themselves crashing. Some states' websites have fared better than others, but the federal website has absorbed the lion's share of the criticism.

Officials within President Obama's administration have blamed the spotty access on higher-than-anticipated traffic, taking healthcare.gov offline during off-peak hours last weekend for repairs.

"We've identified the glitches, we've added hardware, we're recoding software, and I can tell you today is better than yesterday, and we are hoping in the very near future to have a seamless process that's what we are aiming for," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Tuesday.

Some computer experts, however, say the website's flaws cannot be explained by high demand alone.

"It wasn't designed well, it wasn't implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it," Luke Chung, an online database programmer, told "CBS This Morning." "It's not even ready for beta testing for my book. I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that."

The AP/GFK poll interviewed 1,277 adults via a probability-based online panel between October 3 and 7. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

  • Jake Miller

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