Navigators impacted by health care web problems

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:23:20 PM EST
Updated On: Oct 22 2013 09:36:38 AM EDT

Web contractors from three companies will testify before a House committee about their role in the technical fiasco.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

President Barack Obama insists problems with the healthcare website will be fixed while IT experts from around the world try to figure out what's going wrong.

The Washington Post reports government officials tested a key part of the website just days before the launch and it crashed. The website still launched on October 1.

People have been hired with one specific job to do: help people enroll for insurance under the new Affordable Care Act. They're called navigators and even they have had trouble getting people signed up.

"We've had about 500 assists here locally, we have not yet been able to have a successful submission through the website," said certified navigator, Nikole Helvey.

There are nine navigators in Northeast Florida, hired by the Health Planning Council. They're certified, trained and ready to roll but they've not been able to do much yet.

"Right now we're providing a lot of information, answering a lot of questions but until that can get up and running our role is still a little bit limited in how much we can help folks," said Helvey.

There are other ways for people to get some help enrolling. At St. Vincent's Hospital is the Hope program, originally set up for people who don't have healthcare. Over the past few days they have been somewhat successful, officially enrolling three patients in a government plan. They were still at zero last week.

"It seems like they just haven't tested it with so many people on website at same time," said Kevin Roberts who works at St. Vincent's Hospital.

Local web designer, Jay Owen says similar sized websites like Facebook and Twitter are much more complex and they don't fail, saying whoever designed healthcare.gov will have a lot of questions to answer.

"This would be a scary situation. especially if you've been paid what the company's been paid to do this site. I'm not sure how their contract reads, it's almost un-operational at this point," said Owen.

As for getting help from a navigator, they will be out in the community at different places trying to get people enrolled. They were at UF Health October 21st - October 25th.

To find a navigator and set up an appointment call 1-866-295-5955.

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