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Final surge in demand in Michigan stresses Obamacare sign-up system

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
More than 140,000 Michiganders have signed up for new health care plans through Obamacare.

Monday’s Obamacare deadline is pushing many Michiganders to try to sign up for new health insurance plans. But that may overwhelm the groups trying to help get them signed up.

Computer glitches and telephone delays marred the opening of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act last fall. The surge of demand now, as Monday’s deadline looms, threatens to overwhelm the system again.

Dizzy Warren is the statewide outreach manager for Consumers for Healthcare, the largest of the health care navigator groups signing people up in Michigan.

“The system is being stressed. We’ve already have had signs of that all week. And ...the 800 number which is generally the fallback is also backed up,” says Warren.

Warren concedes that there are concerns an avalanche of demand in the final hours may crash the system.

“I’ll be honest. This is the time, if it crashes, you can’t hide it,” says Warren.

The Obama administration is giving people who start enrolling by Monday a few more weeks to complete the process. 

More than 140,000 Michiganders have signed up for new health care plans through Obamacare. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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