First Obamacare Retail Store Opens in Connecticut

By CNN News Wire

Published 11/03 2013 11:20AM

Updated 11/03 2013 04:57PM

(CNN) -- Ways to sign up for Obamacare are expanding, The first Obamacare retail store is up and running in Connecticut.

The physical location seems to be a hit with some locals, but it's not problem-free.

Take a trip down Main Street in New Britain, Connecticut and right next to Edible Arrangements, you'll pass a store that has the locals intrigued.

A retail store set up by Connecticut's State Exchange, dedicated solely to all things Obamacare.

Think of it as the first brick and mortar version of an online state exchange. Management says they wanted to be creative, so they used the Apple store as their inspiration.

“It's clean, it's open, it's bright, and as you can see it's very open for a customer to walk in and just kind of feel welcome.”

Past the greeting area, there's a screening area for informational videos on insurance, a play area for uninsured customers with toddlers and cubicles for insurance brokers.

Management also says, by having a physical store they eliminate some of the confusion about what the exchanges actually are.

“We got a lot of questions from individuals confusing this with a stock exchange or people thinking it was physically a place where they had to bring their insurance cards into to physically exchange them for something else.”

The in-store experience has already run into problems, one customer says she's already had to come in three times to try and enroll for health insurance. Every time she moves further along in her online application, problems connecting to the federal data hub, force her to come back and start over.

Problems aside, Connecticut is rolling full speed ahead. The state already has plans to open a second retail store in New Haven in the coming week.

“We wanted to find a way to make a firm commitment to physically being in the communities where many uninsured people reside.”

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