Exchange snafus linked to only 3,164 purchases so far

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

Just over 3,100 people purchased health insurance through Colorados new health exchange from Oct. 1 through Oct. 26, according to new data released Monday.

Purchases on Connect for Health Colorado will need to pick up steam dramatically in the coming months if the new marketplace for public and private insurance is going to meet a mid-level goal of enrolling at least 136,000 people in new health plans in Colorado in 2014.

Board members expressed dismay Monday that computer glitches both at the federal level and in Colorado may be preventing customers from purchasing health insurance. Without purchases by a broad spectrum of people including young, healthy customers Obamacare may not work as planned.

Exchange managers said nearly 45,000 people have created accounts so far while 30,862 have either chatted or talked with customer service agents. Altogether the website has had 316,326 unique visitors through Oct. 26.

Colorados health insurance marketplace has seen steady interest since our launch, CEO Patty Fontneau said in a press release.

But Fontneau acknowledged some problems with Colorados exchange including challenges working with agents, brokers and health coverage guides, many of whom are struggling to sign up customers.

We recognize that there are areas where we can improve our services, Fontneau said. We are working seven days a week to make those improvements and ensure that all of our agents/ brokers and partners are able to help customers shop and enroll in health insurance.