Obama addresses widespread health care glitches

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is acknowledging his health care law's rollout "hasn't worked as smoothly as it's supposed to work."

Obama is encouraging Americans who want to sign up for insurance under new government exchanges to keep trying. He spoke from the White House's Rose Garden.

The remarks came at Obama's first health care event since widespread problems with sign-ups online became apparent.

He blamed problems in part to an overwhelming response. He says the program doesn't depend on website and there are other ways to sign up.

Colorado is one of several states to set up its own exchange. The Connect for Health Colorado website had some technical glitches on the first day that preventing users from creating new accounts for several hours, but 7NEWS has not heard about any widespread problems since then.

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