On Launch Day, Three Navigators Certified for Entire State

Credit Jim Burress / w

Earlier this month, Georgia licensed Daniel Tzros as the state’s first healthcare navigator, so no doubt the big launch of the insurance exchange was a big deal to him.An audio version of this story

At his Peachtree Street office, he’s explaining how easy it is to navigate the new site.

“I’ve clicked three times.  I’ve basically said individual family choose the state of Georgia and applied.”

And there’s a hiccup.

The site indicates there are too many visitors, and it can’t handle the traffic, and instead prompts consumers to call a customer service number,

It doesn't work either — too overwhelmed.

But Trzos doesn’t see the hiccup as a problem.

“This is a good thing. [Consumers] are are shopping; they’re looking.”

DeKalb resident Keith Miller also got the error messages, which to him, were just the latest in a long line of frustrations.

“Eighteen months with the Affordable Care Act have not been very good,” says Miller, who has a pre-existing condition and has been insured under a federal pool that covered those costs. 

Miller partially blames state leaders for giving the exchange duties back to Washington.

“Had the state of Georgia had set up a state program, instead of turning it over to the federal government or really washing their hands of it , I think it would have been a lot better.”

Georgia was one of 36 states electing to let the feds run the state’s exchange.  Twenty-four of those states experienced similar problems on launch day.  

  And while the day-one technology issues were front-and-center, they're just one issue in Georgia. 

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgen's office says to date, only three navigators have achieved necessary certification to help folks through the process.