Affordable Care Act

As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.

How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal website has some people pretty upset.

Health insurers are ending policies for what could turn out to be millions of Americans. The moves have rattled consumers and stoked new debate about the health care law.

No one knows for sure right now how many of the estimated 14 million people who buy their own insurance are getting cancellation notices, but the numbers appear to be big. Some insurers report discontinuing 20 percent of their individual business, while other insurers have notified up to 80 percent of policyholders that they will have to change plans.

The messy rollout of the online exchanges under the Affordable Care Act has provided fodder for Republicans determined to make Obamacare an issue in the 2014 elections.

A handful of Democratic incumbents in battleground states are among senators now calling for an extension of the open enrollment period, which could be a way to curry favor in relatively conservative states.

Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.

The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Agent Recommends Paper Form Over Exchange Website

Oct 27, 2013

Since it launched Oct. 1, the online portal for the health insurance marketplace required by the Affordable Care Act has been plagued with glitches. It's been hard to find anyone who's been able to enroll for an insurance plan at yet.

Insurance broker Phil Muscarello says agents can help consumers fill out a paper application instead. For more information, visit

President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The health exchanges are now open, though some have a lot of glitches. You still have lots of questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family.

And we have answers. In our ongoing series, we're addressing questions you've asked about the sign-up process.

With people having so much trouble logging onto the websites to get coverage, some are wondering how soon they have to sign up for coverage to avoid the potential penalties.


JEFFREY HESS, BYLINE: I'm Jeffrey Hess in Jackson, Mississippi which is one of the 34 states letting the federal government take the lead in establishing a health insurance exchange. Heavy web traffic and software problems have made it nearly impossible to use the new web site since it opened last week.

MEREDITH STARK: Why I keep trying is because this is something we need.

The health insurance marketplaces are now open for enrollment but there's still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges work, what insurance plans are offered and who qualifies for tax credits and subsidies.

On Oct. 1 the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act start the 6-month enrollment period. This means the uninsured or people who buy their own health insurance can now go to one place online and compare plans side-by-side.