October 1st saw the roll out of the Affordable Care Act with the opening of Health Insurance exchanges throughout the United States. In theory, individuals would be able to log on to their state exchange, review available policies, establish an account, create and submit an application, discover whether they are eligible for financial assistance, compare offered policies and make their initial payments for a new policy.
Unfortunately there were significant problems with the roll out. Most states experienced problems with their exchange programming causing many to shut down completely. Since Tuesday, many states have come back online and some individuals are able to obtain quotes including recognition of eligibility for subsidies and tax credits.
This is not surprising. The implementation of a nationwide program is no small feat and few people would realistically assume that it would be smooth sailing from the beginning.
There is still much time left in which you can shop for a new insurance policy. We suggest that people wait a couple of weeks, say until mid-October, before attempting to apply. By that time the carriers will have published adequate material to allow you to select from the available options. Additionally, if you intend to apply through the exchanges they will have managed to work through many of the bugs and your experience should be much smoother. Since none of the new policies will take effect until January 1st, 2014 waiting a couple of weeks still allows enough time to compare and decide which plan is right for you and your family.