Health Insurance Exchange Opens with Glitches

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People around the country are experiencing delays trying to get into the federal government's health insurance marketplace website on its first day.

Visitors are getting messages that the site has lots of visitors or that it is unavailable.

State government in Mississippi isn't leading the effort to promote coverage. That's left a coalition of health advocates, churches and others to push the new law.

At Alabama Arise in Montgomery, executive director Kimble Forrister said he tried to help a woman Tuesday morning and couldn't get through. But he said he expected the website to be busy on the first day to review the insurance plans.

A spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, one of four companies providing insurance through the exchange in Louisiana, said no one among about a dozen testers of the system was able to complete a transaction Tuesday morning.

Company spokesman John Maginnis said the insurer is advising people trying to access the system to relax, noting the enrollment period lasts six months.

Insurance coverage would start Jan. 1 for those who sign up by Dec. 15. This initial enrollment period will continue through March 31.