First thing on the morning of Oct. 1, Candice Verwey logged on to her computer to shop for health insurance from her dining room table.
That was how it was supposed to work under the Affordable Care Act: Go to healthcare.gov, enter your personal information, see if you qualify for a government subsidy and then select a plan that meets your budget and health needs.
Ten days later, Verwey was still stuck in an internet traffic jam that has slowed the rollout of the federal insurance marketplace, a cornerstone of the new health care law.
After spending an estimated 40 hours on the computer and telephone over the past 10 days, Verwey logged on yet again Thursday afternoon from her Southwest Roanoke home.
“Maybe it will work today,” she said, not sounding very hopeful. It did not, informing Verwey that her personal information does not match an online profile she had created — and received confirmation of — just a few days earlier.
“See?” Verwey said. “I can’t go anywhere. This is Day 10, and I can’t go anywhere.”
As people in Southwest Virginia and across the country experience similar delays and technical glitches, critics of President Barack Obama’s signature health care plan are calling it a disaster while supporters say there’s plenty of time to fix the technical problems during an enrollment period that lasts until mid-February.