Healthcare enrollment numbers are low in Michigan, here's our experience

Nov 14, 2013

Yesterday, the Department of Heath and Human Services released a detailed enrollment report on the number of people who looked for insurance coverage from October 1 to November 2.

The number of people who enrolled in coverage is low.

According to the report, 23,987 applications were completed in Michigan. Of those completed applications, only 1,329 enrolled in a plan.

What's the difference between 'completed application' and 'enrollment?'

If you go to healthcare.gov, you have to complete your application before you can enroll in a healthcare plan.

That means that you have to fill out information about how much money you make, who you want covered on your plan, and other basic information.

When I started the application process on October 1, I couldn't even create a username to start the process. 

A week later, I was able to log in. Though there were some problems, I could start filling out information about my income, etc.

Today, I have completed my application, and I'm trying to enroll, but I'm still running into problems.

The navigator I talked to said that a ton of people are stuck at the same spot I'm at.

They've applied, their applications are complete, but there's still a website glitch. That could help explain the low numbers for actual enrollment. 

Federal officials say they're working on the problems on the website and hope to have the majority of them resolved by the end of this month.

Here's what happened to me

One of the first steps in the enrollment process is to choose how you want to use your premium tax credit.

You can use all of it, some, or none of it. 

The website explains what each option would mean for you, which is helpful.

Credit Screen shot from healthcare.gov / healthcare.gov

After I reviewed how I can use the credit, the problem appeared.

Look at the image below. See the white rectangle above the green 'use this amount' button? You can't select which amount of your tax credit you want to use.

The woman on the help line told me that I should just keep checking back.

Credit Screen shot from healthcare.gov / healthcare.gov

According to the help line navigator, it's an issue that tech people are working to fix. There isn't a whole lot you can do until then. Just keep checking back, and try "off" hours, like after 8 p.m.

Once I get through this step, I'm told I need to answer a few questions about my health, and my options for health care plans should appear.

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom