By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)–Top state leaders are attempting to make up for the time lost by customers who couldn’t get online in time to sign up on the state health insurance exchange.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the latest fix.

The tone was very civil even though the hearing rooms were packed at the latest effort to rescue people who may have been left in health care limbo.

You won’t see or him in the promotion, but the health care exchange has Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s name all over it.

“On Oct. 1 and the weeks immediately after Oct. 1, I was deeply disappointed and frustrated that the exchange was significantly under-performing,” Lt. Gov. Brown said.

This latest new best effort in a series of fixes has the state kicking the can down the road again–this time to Jan. 21. Between now and then, the four insurance carriers under Maryland exchange will allow customers to sign up for coverage retroactive to Jan. 1.

In addition, the General Assembly is considering a bill to let people into the Maryland health insurance plan, which usually covers people who can’t be insured anywhere else due to preexisting conditions.

And, in both cases, you phone it in.

“People have called all of our offices who were trying. If someone were to call any of us, what should I tell them they should be prepared to document or to demonstrate?” said Sen. Delores Kelley, (D) Baltimore County.

Callers will be asked to explain just what problems they ran into on the web in order to qualify for this new extension.

“I tried the local site. The local site was not working,” one man said.

“The call center will work with them on a case-by-case basis, and say ‘OK, tell me what you’ve done.’ They’ll say ‘OK, I got on, and I tried to do an account creation, and I couldn’t get any further,’” Brown explained.

The lieutenant governor says this is not the time for an investigation of what went wrong. But there will be an investigation once they get these wrinkles ironed out.

The state estimates between several hundred to 5,000 Marylanders would qualify under the latest plans.

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