KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been more than two weeks since the federal health insurance marketplace opened, but most people who've tried to shop still haven't been able to get in the virtual door.
In August, Marilyn Tavenner, the government administrator in charge of healthcare.gov told FOX 4, "We are absolutely ready for October 1."
But "please wait" is still all that many see when they try to establish an account on the website. You must have that account before you can shop for health insurance there.
"I didn't get to see any prices. No, unfortunately," said Nicole Jones who wanted to see if she could find a better deal than the individual plan she has now.
Dr. Ben Dohrman, Nicole's boss at his chiropractic office, also tried to look at numbers since he has individual coverage, too.
"It was a waste of time, honestly," said Dr. Dohrman.
Tom Morrill, an independent health insurance agent, said the system is not working.
"Healthcare.gov does not work," said Morrill.
Like other agents and brokers, Morrill provides his services at no cost to consumers. He can show you plans that are on the marketplace and plans off of it. He has the prices. But he can only go so far in helping those whose income qualifies them for subsidies. To get the subsidy, you have to buy a plan through the marketplace.
Morrill said if the website woes continue, people are going to be hard-pressed to meet the December 15th deadline for coverage beginning January 1.
"That's gonna put a huge crush on agents, brokers, navigators, the government website, the call center," said Morrill.
He added that agents can at least explain options and give estimates now which may make decisions easier when or if the website is fixed.
For assistance from agents, go to http://www.nahu.org/consumer/findagent2.cfm
For assistance from navigators, go to LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov
The toll-free number for the government call center is 1-800-318-2596.
The Obama Administration still has not said how many people have been able to enroll. Visits to the website have dropped off 88 percent since October 1, according to one independent analysis.