Open enrollment off to rocky start in some states

Healthcare.gov screenshot

The first days of 2017 open enrollment for Affordable Care Act exchange plans were tumultuous for residents in Kentucky and Minnesota, where website outages and malicious robocalls halted enrollment activity.

On Tuesday, Minnesota’s call center was jammed by a robocall attack that left consumers on hold for hours, according to The Hill. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called the attack “deplorable,” adding that the robocalls were a coordinated attempt to intentionally disrupt enrollment.

The robocall attack was compounded by problems with MNsure’s website, which was plagued by error messages and locked accounts, according to The Star Tribune. MNsure has tried to overcome technical problems and site functionality failures that persisted during its troubled initial rollout.

Kentucky residents faced similar roadblocks on Tuesday thanks to slow Healthcare.gov servers that caused delays of up to 45 minutes, according to WFPL. Kentucky residents now must enroll through the federal exchange after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin dismantled the state-based health exchange earlier this year. Some had feared that delays on the federal website would prompt individuals to abandon attempts to enroll altogether.

A double-digit average premium increase on benchmark exchange plans has already led to trepidation about 2017 enrollment figures. Despite those concerns, President Barack Obama has urged Affordable Care Act supporters to increase efforts to enroll uninsured individuals.