A lot of people who went to HealthCare.Gov, the federal portal to Health Insurance Marketplaces, soon after it launched on Oct. 1 never got past Step One, creating a working user name and password.

Now the folks in charge of the site say that function, at least, is working. In fact, they’re so confident that they’re e-mailing invitations to 275,000 people who got stuck somewhere in the process to come back and try again.

Should you? It wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you need to get a plan that starts on Jan. 1, you have only until Dec. 15 to enroll and pay your initial premium. You don’t want to get stuck on account creation on Dec. 14th.

To help you along, the HealthCare.gov team just published some tips and tricks for account creation (tips, we can’t resist observing, that we suggested weeks ago), including:

  • Check your e-mail (and spam) folders for an email from them entitled “Marketplace account created.” If you don’t see it, you didn’t create an account.
  • Clear your browser’s history and cache.
  • Don’t keep trying with failed logins and passwords, because HealthCare.gov may have erased them. Create new ones.

If you feel brave, go on ahead and start filling out an application. But be aware that many people are still having trouble with this part. You might want to do some window-shopping for plans first. HealthCare.gov won’t allow this, but we’ve come up with some workarounds that we’ll discuss in our next blog.

Got a question for our health insurance expert? Ask it here; be sure to include the state you live in. And if you can't get enough health insurance news here, follow me on Twitter @NancyMetcalf.

—Nancy Metcalf

Health reform countdown: We are doing an article a day on the new health care law until Jan. 1, 2014, when it takes full effect. (Read the previous posts in the series.) To get health insurance advice tailored to your situation, use our Health Law Helper, below.


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