BOISE, Idaho -

Idaho's insurance exchange hit opening-day snags, with online applications being processed more slowly than anticipated with high volume.

Amy Dowd, the director of the Internet insurance marketplace, on Tuesday directed people seeking to enroll to contact its call center, insurance agents or in-person assisters -- a list is available at www.yourhealthidaho.org -- to help navigate the process.

Despite the troubles, Dowd called the process "a marathon, not a sprint," adding that open enrollment continues through March 31.

As long as people enroll by Dec. 15, she said, their coverage will start on Jan. 1.

Insurance exchanges are a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and are meant to connect individuals and small businesses with federally subsidized insurance, depending on their income.

Exchanges across the country opened Tuesday.