Technical problems affect Colorado's health care exchange website -- Connect for Health Colorado

DENVER - Colorado went live with its health insurance marketplace website Tuesday, but there was glitch that prevented some users from creating new accounts.

After more than 1,300 people created new accounts between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., a technical problem caused the system for creating new accounts to go down.

Connect for Health Colorado spokesman Ben Davis said the number of users on the website, more than 23,000 on Tuesday morning, contributed to the problem. By 4:25 p.m., the total had grown to 55,000 unique visitors.

"The level of interest is without a doubt contributing to some of our technical issues," Davis said.

In a later email, Davis said, "We expect consumers will be able to start creating accounts again before 12:30 MST today." However, a check at 12:30 p.m. showed the problem still existed.

7NEWS wasn't able to create an account until approximately 2:50 p.m.

Between that time and the 4:25 p.m. update, 150 more accounts were created.

During the outage, President Barack Obama spoke about the problems on a nationwide scale.

"Like every new law, like every new product rollout, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix," Obama said. "We found out there have been times this morning, where the site [the national health care exchange website] has been running more slowly than it normally will. The reason is because, more than one million people visited healthcare.gov before 7 o'clock."

Colorado's health care exchange website is http://www.connectforhealthco.com/.

On the website, customers can find out what their choices are, what their premiums will be and whether they qualify for subsidies to reduce their payments. Customers have about three months to find a plan -- coverage doesn't start until January.

You will need to fill out some personal information to sign up for health insurance.

Expect to:

-- Identify yourself and your family members. You will need birth dates and Social Security numbers for each family member listed on your tax return.

-- If you are a legal immigrant, you will need your immigration documents.

-- Provide current information on income, jobs and any available health insurance options. You'll need your most recent tax return, pay stubs and details on other kinds of income, such as alimony, pensions and rents.

-- Learn how much financial assistance you're entitled to.

-- Shop for a health plan and enroll.

Many people will qualify for tax credits to help buy a state insurance plan. The government will send money directly to your insurer, and you'll make arrangements to pay any remaining premium.

The poor and near-poor will be steered to Medicaid in states that agree to expand that program.

Be aware that once you choose a program, you'll probably have to live with your decision until the next annual enrollment period.

You'll have up to four levels of coverage to consider: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Plans at every level cover the same benefits and have a cap of $6,350 a year in out-of-pocket expenses for an individual, $12,700 for families.

Bronze plans generally have the lowest premiums, but cover only 60 percent of medical costs on average. Policyholders will pay the difference, up to the annual out of pocket cap. Platinum plans have the highest premiums, but cover 90 percent of costs. Young adults up to age 30 can pick a skinny "catastrophic" plan -- but you can't use your tax credit on a catastrophic plan.

Tips:

-- Make sure your doctors and hospitals are in the plan you pick. You'll have to check the plan's own website, or better still, call your doctor.

-- Your share of the premium could be lower -- even zero -- if you apply your tax credit to a bronze plan. It's because the credit is keyed to the cost of a silver plan, which is generally more expensive.

-- Check if you are eligible for "cost-sharing subsidies," in addition to your tax credit. Extra help with out-of-pocket costs is available to people with modest incomes. But only with a silver plan