COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that the launch of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website didn't go as planned.
“There is no question that the website had a rocky start,” Sebelius said during a panel discussion about the new health care law at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. "I can tell you it's a whole lot better today than it was two weeks ago."
Sebelius said delaying the launch of the system wouldn't have been fair to those who had been waiting for years to get coverage. She found the silver lining in all the early issues by noting that it shows there has been "pent-up demand" for affordable health coverage.
86 percent of Ohioans already have health coverage either through employers, Medicaid, Medicare, or veterans benefits.
"For that 86 percent they don't do anything with the new marketplaces," she said.
The deadline to sign up is March 31, but Sebelius says the products aren't going anywhere and the prices aren't going to change.
While the government won't say how many people have successfully signed up, an Associated Press-obtained memo showed 13,300 Ohioans were expected to be enrolled by the end of October. They see that number jumping to 190,000 by the end of the open enrollment period.
Sebelius says 1.4 million Ohioans are eligible for the new marketplace. She also said the positives of the new health law are already being seen.
"There are about 97,000 young adults in Ohio previously uninsured before the Affordable Care Act who are now part of their parents' plan," she said.
About 6,000 Ohioans have received rebate checks from their insurance companies for violating a provision in the law requiring them to spend 80 percent of their premiums on health care and only 20 percent on overhead and salaries.