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Health law helpers finding more luck on HealthCare.gov

Customer service agents at Covered California's Concord call center work during the opening day of enrollment of the Patient Protection and
Customer service agents at Covered California's Concord call center work during the opening day of enrollment of the Patient Protection and

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Healthcare workers assisting people to sign up for insurance on the HealthCare.gov marketplace on Monday told Reuters they had noticed improvement in the problem-plagued website.

Seven organizations funded through the health reform law that assist applicants, from Kansas to Pennsylvania, said that they'd seen successes enrolling people from start to finish in recent days.

Another group of the workers, often called navigators, said problems persisted unchanged. None offered numbers.

"Saturday was the first day that I was actually able to get someone through the entire process on the website. That was pretty exciting. And I know on Saturday that wasn't the case for everyone on my team, but more and more consistently we're having success with it," said Rachel Udow, program director for MHP, a community-based organization focused on migrant issues in Weslaco, Texas.

The Obama administration has pledged that the websites would be working smoothly by the end of November, just two weeks before the December 15 deadline to purchase health insurance that starts on Jan 1.

"We've had more completed online enrollments in the last week or so than probably all the weeks before combined, and we're pretty excited about that," said Laura Line, corporate assistant director of healthcare at the Philadelphia-based Resources for Human Development.

Others were more muted, but still encouraged by the improvements. Debbie Berndsen, navigator project director at the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, said that two of the group's navigators were able to fully enroll applicants Monday morning.

"It just gives me the sense that things are going in the right direction," Berndsen said.

(Reporting By Curtis Skinner; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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