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Glitches persist in Illinois insurance marketplace

Federal officials say high traffic flow causes delays on website.

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 6:26 am, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

CHICAGO -- Illinois officials thanked state residents for their patience Wednesday, the second day of a new online health insurance marketplace where consumers have run into frustrating glitches when they tried to sign up for coverage.

For the second day, a new Illinois website routed people to a state Medicaid enrollment site or to a federal website, depending on household income. The Medicaid side of the system appeared to be working smoothly, with more than 5,000 applications submitted online.

But problems with the federal website continued to prevent many people in Illinois and elsewhere from setting up accounts, comparing insurance policies and enrolling for coverage under the nation's new health care law.

Federal officials said the delays were caused by the high traffic on the HealthCare.gov site, possibly a sign of intense public interest in the new options offered through the law.

With prices nearly impossible to access on the site, the federal government released some cost information late Tuesday for policies available in Illinois and more than 30 other states. The new information shows prices by county, in certain age categories and certain family situations.

For example, a 27-year-old Adams County resident can choose from 39 plans ranging in price from $117 per month to $350 per month. That's before tax credits, which could lower costs.

A 27-year-old Cook County resident can choose among 72 plans from $125 per month to $375 per month before tax credits.

The federal government is running the technical side of the Illinois marketplace because state lawmakers didn't approve a state-run system.

By midmorning Wednesday, Champaign Urbana Public Health District employee Awais Vaid said that while people who are eligible for Medicaid could sign up through the state's website, the federal marketplace site was still responding with error messages.

"I was there for about 45 minutes, and it was still not doing it," he said, noting very few people had come through the office to try to sign up Wednesday.

The Get Covered Illinois website had received more than 231,000 visitors as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, said spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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