KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- October 1 is the first day uninsured and other eligible citizens can enroll in an qualified health plan at the government's health insurance marketplace.
Swope Health Services is the largest enrollment center in the metro area. At Swope's central campus on Blue Parkway, people are getting help with the application process.
Eleven certified application counselors are helping people create their accounts, pick a health plan and enroll in health insurance.
Many of the patients who visit Swope Health Care clinics don't have insurance and doctors are referring them to the enrollment center to see if they qualify for a subsidized health plan.
Nearly 800,000 Missourians are estimated to now get access to affordable care through the exchange.
More than 2.6-million Missourians with pre-existing conditions also cannot be denied coverage.
Dennis Young, 57, is one of them. The chemical salesman has only one kidney, a pre-existing condition he says has prevented him from getting his own health coverage.
"I was so happy that the bill had been passed," Young said. "Everybody can actually get affordable health care."
Young is one of many who've had a hard time registering online this morning. That may be an indication of just how much interest there is in the marketplace as the government's website slowed to a crawl and may be overwhelmed with inquiries.
Open enrollment in the health insurance marketplace continues through the end of March 2014. Those who want to explore their options can go to any of half a dozen Swope Health Services locations throughout the metro area.