Obamacare 101: Seven ways you can sign up, despite Web woes

On Oct. 21, President Obama acknowledged the technical problems with the Obamacare website, which launched on Oct. 1 to enable people who don’t already have health insurance to shop for it. Although he talked about the importance of fixing HealthCare.gov, he also emphasized that Americans have other ways of signing up for insurance.

“[On Oct. 20], we updated the website’s home page to offer more information about the other avenues to enroll in affordable health care until the online option works for everybody,” he said.

So what are those avenues? Here are seven options you may want to know about.

A computer frame grab shows the HealthCare.gov website displayed Oct. 11, 2013.

1. Pick up the phone

The government says it’s been staffing up call centers in a bid to keep wait times short. "You can get your questions answered by real people, 24 hours a day, in 150 different languages. The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596," Mr. Obama said.

Be ready to provide things such as your Social Security number, income level (it can help to have a W-2 form or wage stub in hand), and information about any current health insurance that anyone in your household has through an employer.

You’ll still want to do some homework – including perhaps browsing informational portions of HealthCare.gov – to help with decisions. You may have important choices among insurers or about the trade-offs in the pricing of plans based on premiums and deductibles.

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