Ohio health-care backers urge patience amid delays

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Health-care providers and other groups that are helping uninsured Ohioans sort out their coverage options are preaching patience after the opening days of the new insurance marketplaces.

Computer glitches frustrated many potential applicants searching for available plans, and those looking for someone to walk them through the process may be left waiting for weeks.

Those promoting the nation’s new health-insurance system say that consumers still have months to make decisions and that it’s more important for people to take their time and make an informed choice — even if that means waiting a month or more.

Several organizations in Ohio that received federal money to hire people to guide consumers through the needed steps don’t expect to have all their workers in place until the beginning of November.

“If it’s slower than we hope, we apologize, but we’re going to do it right,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

The organization received almost $2 million to hire and train 30 to 40 outreach workers and volunteers but didn’t receive state-required certification until Oct. 1, the same day the new health insurance system launched.

She hopes all the workers will be in place between mid-October and the beginning of November to assist consumers.

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