A University of Missouri health care expert recommends individuals wait a little while longer before trying to buy health care insurance under federal healthcare reform.

Health care exchanges came open October 1, but there have been so-called “glitches” and other issues with the online sign-up process. Assistant Professor Bridget Kevin-Myers advises consumers to give it a few weeks before trying to register.

“Part of it is we’re hoping that waiting a few weeks will give the government some time to fix some of the glitches that are on the federal exchange, which is where Missourians can purchase insurance, and hopefully there won’t be a mass rush and the travel to that website will be more slow and steady.”

She says don’t wait too long, however. There are deadlines to meet.

“You have until December 15 to obtain coverage that will become effective January 1. With respect to the individual mandate the penalty will start January 1. If you were to obtain coverage during 2014 your penalty then would be prorated for that year.”

Kevin-Myers says before signing up, individuals need to be prepared to share their income level, and their health status.

“Any upcoming sort of care that they might need, whether they have chronic illnesses that need frequent attention or whether or not maybe they just need more sporadic coverage.”

Kevin-Myers says individuals can use their health history to choose a plan that is right for them.

“Whether or not they need a plan with a high deductible because they don’t anticipate getting ill very often and will just need more of the preventative and kind of routine care, of if they have a chronic illness that requires frequent care, then maybe they want to go with a plan that provides more coverage but may be more expensive.”

Those who are apprehensive about the process can find help from Certified Applications Counselors, otherwise called “navigators.” Kevin-Myers says they can be found by visiting covermissouri.org.

She has also co-authored several reports that offer information that can help Missourians register on the exchange. Those can be found on the website of the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs.