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Applying online isn't the only option for signing up for health insurance

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:36:00 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 02:17:13 PM CST

ABC-7's Maria Garcia reports.

EL PASO, Texas -

It's time to sign up for health insurance under the affordable care act but the website where you can do it is too slow to use if it works at all.

ABC-7 has been attempting to access premium and deductible information for two days without success. The federal government's website to enroll for the new healthcare plan,  healthcare.gov is choked with traffic and/or plagued by faulty software.

When you apply, the government may subsidize some of your costs. That'll determine how much you pay a month and your deductible. The government will use things like your age, income, family size and even location to figure out how much of your plan it'll subsidize.

"They've got until December 15th to put in the application (if they want the insurance plan to kick in January 1st) so yeah we want them to do it as soon as possible but we have time so there's no big hurry. Once the application is submitted, they can get an answer right away in terms of what policies they qualify for and what the premiums and tax credits they'll get and cost sharing deductions," said Arturo Robles, Project Vida's Navigators coordinator. Navigators are local health workers trained by the federal government to help people enroll into health insurance plans.

Individuals or families who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent above the federal poverty line will be eligible for government subsidies. Click here for a chart of the income levels and family sizes that fall in this category.

There is still uncertainty about the affordability of the deductibles that come with the plans. Many people will be eligible for plans in which they'll pay less than $100 a month premiums. However, it's unclear how much they'll have to pay in the form of a deductible before the insurance kicks in.

"There's nothing set.  Everybody's circumstances are different. This takes into account all those things so no two families are going to be the same," said Robles.

He adds the whole point of the plan is to make coverage affordable.

Some people who make less than $11,490 a year may not be eligible for federal subsidies or medicaid, mainly because the state of Texas chose not to expand Medicaid.

Below are some of the local places you can call to gather information about how to start applying for the health insurance plans by phone or with a paper application:

-AVANCE: 351-2419
-Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Inc.: 545-7190
-Centro San Vicente Familiar de Salud: 858-2932
-City of El Paso, Dept. of Public Health: 2-1-1
-County of El Paso: 546-2098
-EPISO - Border Interfaith: 778-3200
-El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: 566-4066
-Region 19 Head Start: 790-4600
-Rio Grande Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging: 533-0998
-United Way of El Paso County: 533-2434
-YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region: 533-2311

The main federally trained navigators in El Paso who can help you figure out how to apply by phone or with a paper application are Enroll El Paso. You can reach them at (915) 206-2121.

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