HEALTHCARE HELP: Enrollment Deadline Approaches

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In the first month, 400,000 fewer people had enrolled for coverage using than the Obama administration had projected.

Now with a little help, some Iowans are finally breaking through.

People have until December 23rd to enroll in healthcare coverage if they want their plans to begin on January 1st.

That's why appointments with licensed healthcare navigators are filling up fast.

Recently retired, Lorraine Garner has had a little extra time on her hands.

She's needed it.

Like many Iowans, she's been greeted by error messages when visiting

"The first time, it didn't work so well,” said Garner.

She made an appointment with Dara Rasavanh.

Dara is one of five licensed navigation specialists through Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.

She's been through 32 hours of federal and state training to help people get enrolled in healthcare coverage.

Dara has been busy, helping seven people enroll since last Wednesday.

Word of this service has spread fast.

“We've gotten phenomenal response. We've had a lot of people sign up. We've had overflows,” said Rasavanh.

While navigation specialists can provide valuable assistance, they too are at the mercy of the federal website.

If the website is down, you'll have to use paper, enroll over the phone, or reschedule.

"We would have to follow up with them with another appointment,” said Rasavanh.

For Lorraine, it's worth the wait.

She says she's found a policy that will save her $100 dollars per month.

"I think it's a good program and a lot of people will benefit from it,” said Garner.

Others will be jumping for the next appointment as the deadline comes crashing in.

"The frustration is the deadline and knowing the January 1st is coming up and they need a policy,” Rasavanh told Channel 13 News.

Dates have been set up across central Iowa for people to speak to a licensed Health Insurance Marketplace navigator. Enrollment ends March 31, 2014.