One Man’s Quest to Sign Up for Obamacare

One Man’s Quest to Sign Up for Obamacare

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Day 4:

After spending more than two hours in the waiting room, I once again tried to create an account at healthcare.gov so my family could #GetCovered – as instructed by President Obama and Secretary Sebelius.

My first attempt at setting up an account today was thwarted when healthcare.gov said the user name I attempted to use was no good:

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Ack! It says the username already exists? This was the username I had set up on Day One (backstory here), but the system ultimately didn’t recognize it. I feared some other Tony Jewell had used my cleverly placed underscore.


To be sure, however, I used this page to attempt to recover my password associated with that account that I had long ago given up on:

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Seconds later, I received an email – indicating that it was indeed associated with me, Tony Jewell:

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Feeling encouraged, I followed the link to reset my password as directed.

I slowly typed in my password of choice, the computer whirred and took me to …

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What the wha …???

I had just entered my profile name. It sent me an email to my email address. I clicked on the link to take me back to the page … and it “couldn’t find a Marketplace profile that matched information” that I provided?

How in the world did it email me then? That is one hugely random coincidence (note to self: Buy Powerball tickets before Saturday night).

So, I give up on my chosen identity that may or may not exist in the Marketplace and attempt to create a new one.

Four attempts were met with the same answer each time:

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The “invalid format” for answers of security questions that I provided were words. In English. No symbols. No sentences. Just simple words that I was pretty sure I could remember if asked again.

Alas, I’m not sure I will ever be given that opportunity. At least millions are still visiting the website.

Tony Jewell is the founder of Boardwalk Public Relations in Ventnor, New Jersey. He is a former corporate and state and federal government spokesman. This post originally appeared in his blog, Life in the Affordable Care Act.

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151 Comments on "One Man’s Quest to Sign Up for Obamacare"


Guest
Penny D
Oct 5, 2013

Everyone should be aware that if you call the number 1-800-318-2596 you can speak to a representative (yes, a very helpful person, not a machine) and actually APPLY over the phone. Even though they are having the very same website difficulties the rest of the country is, this is a viable work-around. Just be sure you have enough of your income information to answer their questions. It helps if you know all your sources of income, and it doesn’t hurt to have your 2012 tax return in hand. They will mail your paperwork to you (supposedly within about two weeks). NOTE: When they ask you about deductions, they are not referring to deductions you may have taken on your tax return. Check the internet for what the ACA is referring to, which are special deductions they have come up with to arrive at “Modified Adjusted Gross Income”, or MAGI. Also, get the name of the person you are speaking to, so you know who to thank when you are done, or just in case you get cut off!

Guest
Shannon
Oct 7, 2013

No, it isn’t viable. I like to make informed decisions and if I can’t look at my options and compare them, then I can’t make an informed decision. Sure, they can apply for me, but they can’t send me the paperwork to look over, and therein lies the problem.

I called them today, and this was their response.

Guest
Penny D
Oct 7, 2013

All I can say is that it worked well for me, to just get through the application phase of the process itself. True it does not get you to the actual plans to choose from. But I also found on the bottom of that “holding page” (I think) that you can click right into a spreadsheet that lists every plan for every county in the country. It provides a lot of basic info: company, plan levels offered, premiums for several different examples of applicants. You can rather quickly see how many providers there are in your area, and pretty much figure out which ones you’d be interested in getting details on. No, it’s not perfect – but if you’re like me, paying nearly $10,000 annually for insurance, it’s worth working through it however you can. I guess I was lucky to get well-trained reps.

Guest

Great article. Thank you for this important information about signing up for care. Please provide feedback on hospitals at http://www.RateHospitals.com
Thank you

Guest
david moninger
Oct 6, 2013

Thanks Penny D. .. but for those of us just looking for a quote … why should that require all the above hassle and waiting two weeks (more or less). Just give me the names of the insurance companies offering insurance in my state via the exchange, I’m fairly sure THEY will respond to me in a much shorter time frame.

Building a massive “state of the art” cloud based responsive system to process the exchange should NOT include the “viable workaround” of talking to an individual on the phone who simply says “try again later at off peak times”. OR requests a bunch of info NO ONE self employed or employed with several part time jobs,-(many of those currently without insurance= are going to have readily available!

Guest
Bubba For President
Oct 6, 2013

See Bob’s post above for a pretty good take on what may be going on

Guest
Ann
Oct 6, 2013

Yes I have experienced everything covered in this blog. I have tried Live Chat. What a joke! I also have tried the phone number when I was having problems logging on. The person on the phone did not have access to log in information. I am sick of hearing try later when it is not busy. I tried to at 5 AM yesterday but it was closed for maintenance.
I do not want to apply over the phone. I want to see what is available and compare them. I guess that is not possible.

Guest
Allison
Oct 6, 2013

Ann-

I also have experienced everything covered in this blog AND have stayed up through the wee hours of the morning as well – with no luck either!

What I find interesting is that the website “help” refers you to the 1-800 number “help” and vice versa! And, although, I’ve run across a few really nice “help” people; for the most part they’ve been kind of snarky to me!

I would love it if there were some place to look to SEE what the whole process looks like – and a realistic timeline for each step of that process (although I realize the timeline part may be practically impossible right now!).

All I’ve been able to accomplish (if you can call it that!) is speaking to someone on the 1-800 line and getting “some” part of the process done – but I don’t really even understand which part that was!

Ugh! I just want to get this over with. Couldn’t we have done any of this via paper applications we picked up at the post office or something??!!?? Who’s bright idea was this to do this via the internet???!!!???

Guest
Oct 6, 2013

You remind me of the idiot buying the very firt model of a car. Give them a few week to figure it out. You have until end of December to buy. It’ll work by then

Guest
Tony Jewell
Oct 7, 2013

Matthew –

As a family, we are eager to see what our options are for 2014 and to begin comparison shopping for a variety of reasons:

1. We want to know what the potential cost is for next year, so we can begin making decisions (stay on COBRA through end of year? get new plan? which one?).

2. Once we see what plans are available and at what costs, we need to see if our doctors are on those plans. We have to coordinate care and coverage among oncologists, neurologists, primary care physicians and others. That will take time, as will finding new specialists if it comes down to it.

I apologize if trying to #GetCovered and making informed decisions in the face of complicating health variables makes me an idiot.

Tony

Guest

Really? I don’t think it’s at all comparable. If you have a pre-existing condition and have specialists that you’ve seen for awhile, it only makes sense that you would want to see what your options are sooner rather than later.

Guest
Aurthur
Oct 7, 2013

I guess that was not the Sport model. And please Mr. Holt, abide by this blog’s ever so high standards of courtesy and refrain from unproductive name calling. Thank you.

Guest
Ann
Oct 7, 2013

Yes Matthew you have until the end of December to buy but what happens in January when you get sick. If the site is having problems with just looking at the different plans, what happens when they try to verify your insurance in January. I do not want to sign up now until I can look at all the options and compare the different plans. Every other site, e-bay, amazon, etc. lets you look at the different items being offered without verifying all you information. I heard that Kentucky is letting you look at the different plans with out registering and they are not having a log jam.
In January and February, when a hospital or doctor’s office tries to verify your insurance, are they also going to have this problem. I guess we will not know until then. I am afraid because so many things are going to fall thru the cracks when people are seeking medical care.

Guest
Al
Oct 7, 2013

Don’t waste your time. It is a joke. I spent 3 hours and have been denied for coverage in the State of Colorado. This is only for wealthy people and not for low income self-employed workers.

Guest
Flyguy8650
Oct 7, 2013

Let’s see…..system built to handle max of 60,000 unique users. Number was extrapolated from Medicare Script Plan??? Good idea. we are opening the Insurance system to 300,000,000 people. Good logic. And these sub-par federal beurocrats are going to manage the Health Care of our Country.

Dont get sick…it will kill you.

From my generation to those 35 or under. I am sorry we left you with such ignorant corrupt officials in government. Our bad, but yours to fix. Remember, DEMS/GOP are OPPOSAMES, No difference. Watch your liberty fade, big brother will watch and you will find yourself in a dictatorship before you know it. I will be gone and dead, but I apologize for all of us baby boomers. WE DID HAVE FUN…WE just forgot to be responsible and passionate about what our parents left for us.

If you let this health care system become effective, you will never be able to go back to quality care. Stay healthy, grow your own food, get off the grid. lay low form communes. Arm yourself

Guest
Oct 7, 2013

We are Connecticut Health Providers that will help you navigate through ObamaCare and find the most suitable CT health plan quote for you and your family.

http://www.cthealthpro.com

Guest
Oct 10, 2013

If you put a user name in and go thru all the stuff to register I get unavalible at this time try again now second time same info entered and then it says user name already exist. I change the user name that no one would use again first time it says unavalible at this time try again try again then when I retry it says user name exist try again ive used letters numbers of all kinds always samething so if you put the info in the system seems to actually reconise the name that was never allowed then counts it as a name already in use. this is screwed up.

Guest

nice information about sign up for obama care keep posting like this…
Thanks for sharing…

Guest
Oct 11, 2013

OMG just got thru to healthcare.gov it took a week and i feel sick. I only make 2,500 a month after my mortgage payment my car payment and food and misc 1 small credit card nothing owed on it thank god, theres not enough to pay for this premium of 600.00 a month I cant get to work without a car and i need gas and food to eat and toiletries the lowest policy was 520.00 a month but I cant afford the deductable OMG I really feel sick seeing this I believe it but then again i cant believe it.

Guest
Lynne
Oct 12, 2013

Managed to get through the entire process, picked a plan, saw the cost with subsidy applied, reviewed and confirmed coverage (final step of the “To-Do List”) and now the final step (review and confirm) shows a picture of a lock and reads “LOCKED.” The top of the page tells me that I’m not enrolled yet, but it doesn’t tell me why. All steps are completed as far as I can tell. I have no clue as to what I’m supposed to do now.

An employee at my insurance company told me that I was supposed to have been prompted to make my initial payment through the HealthCare.gov web site. The workers on the chat line and phone support at HealthCare.gov told me that my insurance company is supposed to send me a bill in the mail. Conflicting information, with no definitive answer available anywhere that I can find.

It seems that NOBODY even KNOWS how this entire process is even SUPPOSED TO work.

My biggest fear is that I will be billed by my insurance company for the full monthly cost without the subsidy applied for the coverage starting on January 1. If the web site isn’t functioning by mid-November, how can they expect people to pay the unsubsidized cost? My insurance company isn’t going to care if the web site isn’t functioning – they’ll just want me to pay the entire cost.

Guest
Brandy
Oct 22, 2013

I have the locked symbol too and I had gone through everything where it was going to have me sign and accept then when I would hit confirm it would cycle through and say please wait. It still did nothing. I didn’t have time to mess with this and so I told myself, “I’ll come back later.” Came back later and it says its locked. I talked to a live chat person that seemed to give me the basic response of “there are many people on this website and we are trying to fix the glitches etc.” I was never able to look at my eligibility results but could go straight to the enrollment process. I never saw anything about a payment. At the end of mine, it told me how much it would cost after the subsidy was taken off so I’m still waiting like everyone else….I try not to get so frustrated after what happened earlier this month and ripping hair out just trying to get through. Maybe it is locked because they have to process the application to the insurance you/we chose? Maybe after you signed it locks the system so you cannot go back and send it multiple times? It’s super frustrating that’s for sure.
At the very end of my page I had where it told me my plan and how much it was…then I had to accept a statement and type my name. Then it kept telling me to please wait…and now it’s locked.
I’m really honestly thinking that even though I didn’t see a confirmation that my application is being processed and once it is, my family will be enrolled. HOPEFULLY. but I’m not counting on it.

Guest
Jim in Virginia Beach
Oct 22, 2013

We all share your pain, Brandy. I’m afraid to burst your bubble, but I spoke to someone on the help line, and they told me that if you are indeed “confirmed”, the next screen you see should say, “Congratulations…..” and then some more info. I think the “in progress” status we are seeing doesn’t mean that the insurance company we have chosen has our applications. I think it means that the enrollment process is what is in progress. I still see “You are not enrolled” when I log in, and yes, the bottom is greyed out and locked where you can confirm. I telephoned the insurance company I selected (Optima) and they did not see my application on their end. As of yesterday, a mere 24 people had been able to actually have their applications approved by Optima. Pitiful.

Guest
Lynne
Oct 22, 2013

I got the “Congratulations” message, but it doesn’t seem to mean anything. I spoke to my insurance company this morning and was told that they haven’t received any enrollment information at all for anyone (from the healthcare.gov web site). Not one. I think we’re all just wasting our time.

I’m really looking forward to hearing the enrollment numbers that the government is supposed to release in November. My guess is that they’re going to come up with some excuse for not releasing that information. As I read on another forum regarding all of this…DON’T THEY WORK FOR US and shouldn’t we DEMAND to be provided that information?

Guest
Jim in Virginia Beach
Oct 22, 2013

Rats! Another blow to the groin, Lynne. After receiving the “Congratulations” message, what did you see after that? If you log in, does it show that you’re enrolled? I thought for sure I was getting closer. Oh well. You got further along than I did. I do find some solace in that my insurance company has at least signed up about two dozen lucky folks. The hangup does seem to be that the insurance companies aren’t receiving ANYTHING from the healthcare.gov website. They certainly need to know what, if any, subsidy will be paid to them so they know what to bill the individual for.

Guest
Brandy
Oct 22, 2013

I completely understand. Went back in and figured how to get my green box back. I deselected my plan and selected it again. But yet I get all the way to the end and when I confirm everything it tells me to please wait and the page does nothing. Frustrated but will keep trying until I get that congratulations…

Guest
Jim in Virginia Beach
Oct 22, 2013

I did the same thing, Brandy. Thought I’d outsmart the system and get back my green box, but got only as far as you did. You’ll see on here that another beta tester, Lynne, actually got the “Congratulations” page, but her insurance company has no idea who she is. I wish there was a way to circumvent this and have our insurance company verify a subsidy if we have one and then deal with us directly. Alas, they need to verify that, which is totally understandable. They’re not about to bill someone $75 a month on a $650 a month policy, and I can hardly blame them.

Guest
Lynne
Oct 22, 2013

Jim, even though I got the “Congratulations” message, the site still tells me that I’m not enrolled. The first five steps on the “Enroll To-Do List” page are blue areas with a clickable light blue box within that reads “CHANGE,” and the final step, “Review and confirm your coverage,” is gray and “LOCKED.” Nothing is clickable in the gray area.

I did the same thing that you and Brandy did – clicked the box to change my choice of plan and was taken back to Review and Confirm if I changed the plan. If I don’t change the plan it just takes me back to the “Enroll To-Do List” page.

On the “Enroll To-Do List” page I have a red box that reads: “Review your Application Details in your Marketplace account to resolve any outstanding issues with your application. Issues with your application must be resolved to keep your coverage.”

Clicking on that takes me to the “Application Details” page which shows that my application is complete.

My feeling is that the web site should be taken down and be relaunched when it works. There are way too many people wasting their time trying to get enrolled when it appears to be an impossibility.

Guest
Jim in Virginia Beach
Oct 22, 2013

Thanks, Lynne. I may try to refrain from trying again until next month. We should all be compensated for all the time we’ve wasted trying to enroll and as you so eloquently put it, being “beta testers” for this fiasco….ha-ha.

Guest
Jim in Virginia Beach
Oct 14, 2013

Lynne, I got to the same point in the process as well. I never saw anything about making an initial payment to anyone. The site tells me that I’m not enrolled and I also see that the Review and Confirm has the same Locked symbol. The chat person was of no help at all. They must have a button they hit that gives you the same old “lots of visitors….keep trying….blah, blah, blah” even if it doesn’t pertain to your particular problem.