For Patrice McCarron, whose goal is to sign up hundreds of Maine lobstermen for medical insurance, a faulty health insurance website is more than a mere inconvenience. It’s a major logistical headache.
With uninsured lobstermen scattered along 3,500 miles of coastline, McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, can’t risk driving to a remote community to host an insurance enrollment fair only to discover that healthcare.gov is down, again.
“Mileage is expensive. Hotels are expensive,” she said. “So we’re really trying to be strategic.”
McCarron’s group is one of about 100 organizations across the country that received government grants to help people sign up for coverage. These groups of “navigators” have been stymied by the same technical problems that have thwarted individual consumers, and many say they have become worn down and discouraged.
Now they are hoping that this weekend will mark a turnaround for the program, which they once promoted with enthusiasm and more recently have had trouble defending.