Nine weeks after the unsuccessful launch of HealthCare.gov, Family First Health executives are finally able to see proof of progress.
The York nonprofit turned away hundreds of disappointed applicants during the last two months, but on Tuesday counselors there helped three local residents enroll for health insurance.
"We're really happy to see the website is working. The progress is really encouraging, and we're finally able to see how powerful this can be," CEO Jenny Englerth said of the federal government's online health exchange.
The Obama administration promised an improved enrollment process on healthcare.gov by the end of November, and this week has offered the first business days to hold the White House to its word.
A site previously plagued by crashes and error messages seemed to be running smoothly Monday and Tuesday, according to federal health officials and local workers.
Enrolled: Three individuals completed applications at Family First on Tuesday, and one was enrolled on the spot, Englerth said.
"They were all pleased with rates and tax credits. One applicant will be paying $300 less a month," she said.
As of midday Tuesday, healthcare.gov had more than 1 million visitors, according to the administration.
The website sustained those visits without crashing, but it faces a bigger test in the coming weeks when the White House expects a surge of applicants to enroll by Dec. 23 so they can receive coverage by Jan. 1.
Helpers: To help local residents reach the deadline during the website glitches, application counselors at Memorial Hospital helped patients fill out paper applications, according to spokesman Jason McSherry.
Because the website had only been functioning better for the last two days, he said he wasn't sure if counselors experienced much improvement or helped with any applications.
WellSpan Health has trained coordination teams at each of its primary care offices to help patients with applications, said spokesman Rick Ayers.
They've placed application counselors there because people typically seek assistance for health care coverage while they're at the site of their care, he said.
"What I've been hearing anecdotally is there has not been a significant inquiry for help. Our care coordination teams meet on a regular basis, and they've said the number of applications has not been overwhelming," Ayers said. "It's difficult to speculate why."