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Healthcare Website Working, Few Local Residents Buying - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Healthcare Website Working, Few Local Residents Buying

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) - If you want to be covered by January 1, you have until Monday to purchase private health insurance through the Healthcare.gov.

“Just under half of the people who have tried to access the site have been successful in getting it to start up,” says Tom Guterbock, director of the Center for Survey Research.

But even when HealthCare.gov starts up, a survey shows locals aren't necessarily signing up and purchasing insurance.

Researchers for the Jefferson Area Community Survey reached out to nearly 600 people in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Nelson, Greene, Fluvanna and Louisa counties. The survey's lead researcher says level of education came into play.

“People with higher education have an easier time navigating this site and people with less education seem to be more frustrated and less successful,” Guterbock says.

The results show only 22 percent of high school graduates had success using the website. As the level of education increased so did success, with 86 percent of users with graduate work or a Ph.D. being successful navigating. UVA researchers say their results suggest the site can be made to work, but it isn't easy to use.

“There is concern here that, so far, they haven't really succeeded in getting people to do that process,” Guterbock stated.

Guterbock says the results of the survey match up with the results statewide. More than 90,000 Virginians have applied for health insurance on the website since October 1. Of those, almost 5,000 have successfully enrolled in a plan.

Researchers say the need for insurance varied across racial and ethnic lines. They found African-Americans were more than twice as likely as the overall population to say they need to buy a new policy.

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