DENVER - Almost a month since Colorado launched its health care exchange, only 3,164 people have enrolled. When CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta asked why, she found that technology may not be the biggest challenge.
CEO Julia Hutchins is anxious to see how her firm, Colorado Health Op, a health insurance cooperative, is stacking up against the 17 other competitors in Colorado's marketplace.
"We're all anxious," she says. "We can't wait for people to get the insurance coverage they need."
The health care exchange at http://connectforhealthco.com/ was built as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as "Obamacare." The law was signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, after being controversially passed by the Democrat-controlled congress.
Marchetta asked Hutchins, "As of today, do you know who has signed up for your program?"
"We don't know," she answered. "We are so eager to meet our future members."
Hutchins went on to say they haven't even gotten an estimated number of subscribers.
Data posted Tuesday on the Connect For Health Colorado website show 316,326 people have visited the page and 44,935 have created accounts. Some 30,862 people have called with questions.
But only 7 percent of the accounts have actually been used to enroll in coverage.
Hutchins suggests confusion over Medicaid, Medicare and her organization's own status as a non-profit and available tax credits could be to blame.
"We want people to access tax credits, but we also want them to be aware if they'd have broader coverage through other public programs, so it is a tricky process," she said.
Ultimately, health care providers should find out who has signed up so far by Nov. 4.
"These things are complicated and it does take time to work through," Hutchins said. "I think this is what we expected."
There was a technical glitch after Colorado's marketplace was created that temporarily preventing visitors from creating new accounts, but it was resolved within the first day. The federal marketplace, healthcare.gov, also suffered from problems that led to public criticism and even congressional hearings.