Healthcare signups continue despite heavy web traffic - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Healthcare signups continue despite heavy web traffic

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Charles Noble, once a self-employed picture framer and massage therapist, remembers life before affordable insurance when a trip to the hospital with his wife landed them in the emergency room and financial hot water.

"A very scary time and financially very stressful," said Noble.

Now, he's trying to help people from finding themselves in similar positions. He's a certified Application Counselor, a guide for those looking for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

"It's not a difficult process actually, just a regular application form," said Noble.

But signing up has not been easy, at least online. Healthcare.gov has been overwhelmed since it went online.

"Which is still causing delays and other issues as far as getting on that website and actually enrolling," said supervisor Calvin James.

James says they're still making progress. Located in the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center off Monticello Road, he and his team have been answering questions both online and in person, while using a pen and paper to get customers on the rolls.

"We're just changing our focus from an electronic process to a paper process," said James. "It's filling out the same information, providing the customer with the same information, but it's just a different method that we're utilizing."

With the right identification in hand, James says you can get in and out in about 20 - 30 minutes. But even if you don't know what you're looking for, counselors say they can get you on the road in less than an hour.

"Don't be afraid," said Noble. "The Affordable Care Act is not scary. It's just like anything else you go to sign up for."

The application process is not effected by the government shutdown, James says. He says if you get signed up by Dec. 15 and pay your first premium, you'll have coverage by Jan. 1.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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