Obamacare hopefuls find ways around flawed website

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX---  Federal officials say 739 Arizona residents have signed up for insurance in the first month of the online marketplace that is a key part of the nation's new health care law.
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday released state-by-state numbers of people who enrolled through the new exchanges between Oct. 1 and Nov 2.
 
More than 17,000 Arizonans applied for a health plan through the exchange. They sought coverage for nearly 33,000 people, including themselves, spouses and children.
 
The online federal marketplace has been plagued by glitches and delays, but other options are available.

"The paper application is much quicker and easier," Al Leafman, who runs Health Insurance Express, told 3TV.

Leafman opened the Mesa business to help guide applicants through the health care registration process.

Katie Johnson of Mesa was paying $450 a month for her family's private plan.  She was forced to buy one after losing her job. She avoided the flawed Healthcare.gov website, and instead filed a paper application.  Her new, similar Obamacare plan will cost her $130 a month.

"It was really quick and painless. I was surprised," Johnson said.

Leafman's business has only been able to sign one person up for Obamacare using Healthcare.gov.   He's signed up 80 through paper applications.

"We're still hopeful that they fix the website by the end of November," Leafman said.
 
The insurance marketplaces are a key component of President Barack Obama's health care law, which requires almost all Americans to have health coverage starting next year.
 
Applications are available here:
http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family.pdf