MIAMI — After two months of false starts, error messages and pleas for patience from the once-hobbled federal online health care exchange, Karen Egozi, chief executive of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, watched Monday as counselors navigated the website's pages with relative ease.
The website was working so well that Egozi, who oversees the 45 navigators in eight locations who help consumers enroll in health plans, said her team gave the system an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, meaning that most people got as far as selecting a plan or taking home information to select a plan. It felt like a champagne moment.
“I'm 80 percent satisfied,” Egozi said. “I think it will be great when it's 100 percent.”
A little over a week after the deadline that President Barack Obama gave for fixing the federal health care exchange, the system is definitely working better, according to consumers and navigators interviewed in several states.
Still, the interviews indicated, some technical obstacles persist. After shoppers clicked all the way to the plans, for example, the system was not letting some people choose one. In other cases, people were asked to try again later.
Improved entry into the online marketplace has also exposed a new layer of problems and confusion for applicants who are suddenly finding their efforts to buy insurance delayed by requirements that they provide proof of identity or citizenship or that they wait for determinations on Medicaid eligibility.
For the most part, though, the news for the beleaguered online exchange, which serves 36 states, is improving. Last week, more than a half-million people created accounts on the federal website, according to people familiar with the project.