SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Californians who buy their own health insurance and those who have been hoping for coverage began using the state's online marketplace after it opened for business on the first day enrollment.
Covered California, as the new marketplace is known, began operating at 8 a.m. Tuesday with a clock countdown and a ceremonial flipping of a switch.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, says the opening allows supporters of the federal Affordable Care Act to begin "telling the real story about affordable coverage made real for Californians."
He was attending a news event in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova, inside one of state's three health exchange call centers. Beyond the glass-walled office where the news conference was held could be seen dozens of workers awaiting phone calls.
No immediate glitches were reported on the exchange, which is operating in the state that is home to 15 percent of the nation's uninsured. About 5.3 million Californians will be eligible to apply for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.