If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

The glitches regarding enrollment in Virginia's new federally run state health insurance exchange, part of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, have been widely publicized. If you tried to go online at http://www.healthcare.gov on the first day, Oct. 1, or for several days after, you were most likely asked to be patient in gaining access to information about the available private insurance plans offered in the marketplace.

Try again! The marketplace is primarily geared to those who are currently uninsured.

As someone who has access through my employer to "affordable" insurance (by law now less than 9.5 percent of household income) and therefore ineligible to buy insurance on the exchange, I was still curious about how the system works and what plans are offered. (Others who are not eligible are people who already receive Medicare or Medicaid.)

This week, at http://www.healthcare.gov, I encountered a clearly organized page that asked if I wanted to enroll or if I wanted information about projected costs. I clicked on the latter, a service marked as "new," and it took me to the Kaiser Family Foundation's page. The foundation is a nonpartisan group that has done extensive analysis and research in order to offer unbiased information. It has developed a calculator that allows prospective enrollees to plug in their ZIP code, income, family size, age and tobacco use to determine their likely costs and any subsidy.

While the foundation and government websites provide excellent, necessary background information, and answered many, many questions, they still left lots of room for conjecture.

I determined that if I were in need of health insurance, I would definitely go to an expert to help navigate all the choices. In Virginia, the system is murkier because the state has not yet elected to expand Medicaid, which leaves a gap between those eligible for the federal-state program and those who can afford the marketplace plans that are subsidized for those earning up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $78,000 for a family of three. As the plans are offered by private insurance companies, insurance agents can also help explain their company's policies.

Here are some sources of help:

The government web site, http://www.healthcare.gov has a listing of the health plans available or call 1-800-318-2596 for help; TTY users call 1-855-889-4325.

• The statewide toll-free number for help is 1-888-392-5132; http://www.enroll-virginia.com.

• For local navigator help, call Heather R. Parsons at 757-275-0125 30 W. Queens Way, Hampton. By appointment only 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• For certified application counselor help, call Southeastern Virginia Health System, 757-380-8709, which has multiple locations on the Peninsula.

Diabetes help

The Newport News Family YMCA has an eight-week course, designed by the American Diabetes Association, to teach those with diabetes about the disease. Classes start on Tuesday Oct. 29. The one-hour class, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. is offered weekly through Dec. 17 at 7827 Warwick Blvd, Newport News.

It's open to ages 16 and older. Cost is $30 for members; $55 for non-members. Enrollment in the class includes a pass to use the YMCA Wellness Center after class. To register, go online to peninsulaymca.org.

More health news

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