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Obama: Health insurance signup glitches will get fixed

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TWC News: Obama: Health insurance signup glitches will get fixed
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Watch President Obama's full address in the video above.

The new Health Insurance Marketplace was supposed to be as easy as shopping on Amazon.com, but in its first three weeks the website had technical glitches that prevented many people from signing up or even finding out basic information about plans available to them.

The marketplace is intended to be a place where the 15 percent of Americans who have no health insurance can shop for affordable plans from a variety of providers.

President Barack Obama on Monday expressed frustrations over the technical problems, but remained positive about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

He pointed to aspects of the law that are already in place, including free preventative care for the insured, cheaper prescriptions for seniors, allowing children to be covered on their parents plan until age 26 and no denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions.

He said for the majority of Americans who already have insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid, the website problems have little impact.

The response from the 15 percent of Americans without insurance has been overwhelming, Obama said. The traffic to the website, which exacerbated some of the problems, shows people want the coverage, he said.

Call centers to sign up over the phone and in-person health navigators can assist people in purchasing a health plan if they've had trouble with the website. The president said the website is still working for some, albeit slower than expected. He said the best IT talent in the country has joined the team working to fix the glitches.

“I think it’s fair to say that nobody is more frustrated than I am,” Obama said.

Anyone who got stuck while trying to sign up will be contacted directly in coming weeks with assistance to ensure everyone who wants coverage will be able to buy it.

Aside from technical problems, Obama said the response to the new marketplace has been positive. He read letters from people who said they were excited to find affordable health coverage offered on the marketplace. For some, it's the first time they've had coverage in years.

“People are rushing to see what’s available,” Obama said. “Those who have already had a chance to enroll are thrilled with the result.”

Those who are still having trouble enrolling can call 1-800-318-2596 or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov to find a place in your area you can sign up in person.

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