Exchanges Open But Slow, Blues Tout Prices

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SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – If you were trying to sign up for health insurance come Jan. 1 on the new online exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act Tuesday, good luck.

We at WWJ could get through Tuesday to all of the information on the healthcare.gov site, but trying to sign up got us an error message explaining that too many site visitors were slowing down the site.

Its live chat function wasn’t working either.

Meanwhile, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the only health insurer to offer coverage to people in all of Michigan’s 83 counties on the federal health insurance marketplace that opened Tuesday at 8 a.m.

The Blues are offering 18 options for coverage, from a basic catastrophic plan to a “gold” plan that covers nearly everything. Prices range for $102 a month for a 25-year-old buying a bare-bones catastrophic plan to $909 a month for a gold plan for a 60-year-old. (Those prices are for nonsmokers and do not include federal subsidies for low-income individuals and families.)

Consumers can visit HealthCareReformBasics.com to learn more about the way the ACA may affect them, and learn more about their potential cost, impact and eligibility for financial subsidies to help them buy coverage. People not covered by their employer and shopping for individual health insurance can also visit bcbsm.com/myblue, talk with a Blues Health Plan Advisor (HPA) by calling (855)-890-2410 or contact their licensed Blue Cross agent to answer any questions about BCBSM and BCN products available on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Also, Meijer, the Grand Rapids retailer, is partnering with Priority Health, the Grand Rapids-based health plan, partnered to create Health Reform and You! at www.meijer.com/aca and are providing informational brochures for customers at 203 Meijer pharmacy locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

And the Detroit Regional Chamber announced a new website, www.mihealthanswers.com, to help guide members through the complexities of health care reform.  The chamber also said it will hold a series of live events and speaking engagements for consumers to get more information about the law. For a list of upcoming events, visit: mihealthanswers.com/events.

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