Few in Alabama signing up on healthcare exchanges - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Few in Alabama signing up on healthcare exchanges

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Affordable Care Act's exchanges have been online for a week, but people who've been trying to sign up are still facing problems.

"Literally, we probably haven't enrolled anyone yet," says Terry Kellogg, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama, the state's biggest insurer.

But Kellogg warns it's still very early.

"Coverage can't become effective until January 1. You have until December 15 to sign up if you want it for January 1," Kellogg says. "You can sign up through the end of March for next year, so I urge people to be patient. The connectivity glitches will get worked out."

Blue Cross Blue Shield dominates the healthcare marketplace in Alabama with plans varying in cost available in all 67 counties.

While Humana, the only other provider, has plans available in just three counties including Jefferson, Madison, and Shelby.

Not everyone should take the route of signing up on the exchange. Many in Alabama would be eligible for an expansion under Medicaid, but Governor Robert Bentley refuses to take that option saying that he refuses to expand a broken system.

Approximately 300,000 people are eligible to sign up on the exchange while about 350,000 would be eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage.

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