ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) Three and a half years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law glitches marred the roll-out of enrollment into the program in Maryland Tuesday.
Maryland's websitehttp://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/was not functioning until after noon Tuesday and remained balky into the afternoon.
A message on the website blamed "a high volume of users" and apologized for the delay.
The federal portal which connects to state websites, http://www.healthcare.gov, was also running slowly Tuesday.
In Maryland's DC suburbs, local health departments in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties are prepared to assist people trying to enroll in person for affordable health insurance with 80 counselors who are called "navigators".
Even so, at Rockville's Mansfield Kasemen Health Clinic, which serves uninsured residents of Montgomery County, the waiting room was empty and the navigator on duty had not enrolled anyone as of 11 a.m.
Health officials dismissed the balky roll-out as growing pains that will be quickly overcome.
"Despite the naysayers, we are going to move forward," said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.
Local officials estimate at least 53,000 people are uninsured in Montgomery County alone.
Information on where to connect with a local navigator in Maryland's DC suburbs for in-person counselling on enrollment in the program can be found at http://capitalhealthconnection.org/
Maryland residents who are uninsured must obtain health insurance on their own or enroll for affordable health insurance through the state's health exchange by March 30, 2014 or pay a $95 penalty on their income taxes.
The cost of insurance offered on the exchange depends on the income level of the applicant and the amount of coverage that is purchased. In many cases, tax subsidies or an expansion of Medicaid coverage will make the insurance free.
The following websites can be used to begin the enrollment process in Maryland: