Local man shares concerns about health care exchange website

POSTED: 5:50 PM Nov 14 2013   UPDATED: 5:55 PM Nov 14 2013
health care
WINTERVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Glitches, security risks and more- a local man said those were the reasons why he choose not to sign up for a plan on the new health care exchange website.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1,700 North Carolina residents have successfully signed up for health insurance plans on www.healthcare.gov in the first month of open enrollment.

But David Lewis, of Winterville, is not one of them.

The recent retiree said he thought staying on his old job's insurance plan would never be a problem. But when the health care exchange was unveiled, Lewis said he encountered a big problem.

"I’m seeing a drastic increase, $8,300-a-year increase on a fixed income," Lewis said.

Lewis said his insurance premium recently went up by more than $600 a month. Lewis told NewsChannel 12 he tried using the new marketplace on the first day it launched. He wanted to see if he could get a lower rate.

"I started logging in and putting my information. The system just immediately crashed and said, 'system not available’," Lewis said.

Less than 27,000 Americans across the country have selected insurance plans on healthcare.gov.

In North Carolina, less than 30,000 people have submitted applications to the website. Another 15,000 found out they were eligible for subsidies, and 7,400 were eligible for Medicaid.

Website glitches and security measures are some reasons why the numbers are low. The Department of Homeland Security said they've received about 16 reports of cyber attacks against the website so far. Officials are working to find holes in the system and close them.

But Lewis said he doesn’t think these measures are enough to convince him to sign up.

"Unfortunately, with the security lapse, I have no intention whatsoever of putting in my personal information into a system that’s not secure," Lewis said.

North Carolina officials said trained "navigators" can guide people to use healthcare.gov. NewsChannel 12 reached out to several officials, but could not find a navigator who has helped residents in Eastern Carolina.

In the meantime, people like Lewis can now see examples of different plan options in their areas. Users can simply go onto the website and chose their state and county without creating an account.