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Viewers bring attention to issues with state health exchange

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Viewers bring attention to issues with state health exchange
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It's been a rough go for those trying to get health insurance through the federally run exchanges and though the story is different in New York, there are some problems that our viewers have brought to the attention of our Erin Billups.

In November, President Barack Obama offered Americans a fix to the massive issues plaguing the federal health care marketplaces: Keep your current plan for another year.
New York's governor responded with a no thanks.

"We haven't had the kind of issues in New York, in our exchange that they've had nationwide," Governor Andrew Cuomo said on November 18. "Our program has actually been working well."

According to the latest numbers, it's a fair statement. More than 314,000 New Yorkers have signed up for coverage. Nearly 101,000 have already enrolled in plans that start on January 1st.

"We estimate that we would enroll, over the first three years, 1.1 million New Yorkers into coverage," said Danielle Holahan, deputy director of New York State of Health. "We're exceeding our expectations for enrollment, which I think is great."

Still, the reforms are a huge change and there's bound to be growing pains.

Leo Glickman, a partner at a small law firm in Brooklyn, said that trying to sign up six of his employees, including himself, for insurance was a tremendous headache.

"The problem is that we can't enroll our employees, which is now a legally mandated program, and the people who are supposed to help you are not empowered to actually get you through that process," Glickman said.

A spokesman from the state Department of Health said that Glickman's employees were unable to sign up for coverage due to a coding issue that is not widespread. After more than 20 hours spent on the issue, employees at the firm will not have coverage through the exchange by January 1st, but they will likely be able to get coverage for February.

Glickman said that he simply wants officials to be more forthright, that they're still working out kinks in New York's system.

"That's what kind of raised my anxiety level about all of this, is the idea that the governor seems to think that this is going smoothly," he said. "But I do know they've told me that other small businesses are having this problem and if this is more widespread than the impression is given about it, then I think something should be said to put us a little bit at ease."

"We can always learn and improve and we're committed to that," Holahan said.

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