Group questions using healthcare hotline number

Oct 23, 2013

As the federal government continues to grapple with glitches in the new health insurance website, President Obama this week encouraged people to use the insurance exchanges' telephone hotline instead.

 But Jen Tayabji with the health care advocacy group, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, says people may want to think twice before doing that.  Tayabji says she’s called the national hotline to help people in Champaign County sign up, and she says she’s experienced long wait times and been disconnected.

 “So, I’m not sure that is a much more viable option. One advantage about the website is that you get to see the plans after you finish your application. You’re actually looking at all the plans and able to compare them in a really nice way, and that’s something you really lose if you do it on the phone or if you do it by mail because it’s a much slower process and you’re not able to see all your options and look at all the details of the plan.”

 A spokesman with the state of Illinois says people can call the state-run hotline if they need to at (866) 311-1119.  He says so far, about eight-thousand people have called the number, and haven’t had any issues with long wait times.  People interested in enrolling in one of the exchanges or in the expanded Medicaid program can visit