Finding success on Healthcare.gov - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Finding success getting health insurance on Healthcare.gov

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It got off to a rocky start but more people are gaining access to Healthcare.gov, every day.

The number of South Dakotans signing up is also on the rise.

KSFY News spoke to one woman about her experience with the healthcare marketplace.

After Julie Schoolmeester's employer decided it would no longer provide health insurance, but rather a stipend, she decided to check out the online healthcare marketplace.

"What this did was, it gave the employees a choice. you're not locked into what this is what the company is providing for you, it was, here's your funds, you can chose what you want to pay," Schoolmeester said.

Healthcare.gov had a rough start but since it's recent upgrade, Julie says surfing the website for coverage is quick and easy.

"I actually pulled the trigger, said ok, click, here we go, I'm deciding, I'm enrolling. it said you're going to be contacted by the provider to set up for payment, and I clicked on a Saturday and on a Tuesday, the Avera Health Plan called me," Schoolmeester said.

Avera Health Plans chief administrative officer Deb Muller said "we think it's the right thing to do to make sure that people have access to affordable coverage, so that when they need it, they have it, if that's through the emergency department, through a physicians office, needing to get a prescription drug at midnight for your child who has an ear infection."

And for Julie, she found there were a lot of options right at her fingertips.

"I had 26 options for plans with the three different insurance providers that are on the exchange in South Dakota. I could go through, sort, pick, you can save and compare just like any sort of shopping experience on line. I found it to be really easy and really clear," Schoolmeester said.

Julie has advice for anyone who still worries about the glitches on Healthcare.gov.

"I just tell them, it's working, it's not anything to be afraid of," Schoolmeester remarked.

More South Dakotans are finding success signing up.

During its first two months of operation, only 372 South Dakotans had signed up for plans using Healthcare.gov.

Since the recent fix, that total has skyrocketed: 831 people have now signed up for coverage with Avera Health Plans, 211 people enrolled with Sanford Health Plan, and 14 people signed up for health insurance with Dakotacare so far.

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