My (Failed) Attempt To Apply for Obamacare

When measuring the registration process in days is the norm, we have a problem

Obamacare was made for me, if I am to believe the President. You see, I am self-employed, unmarried, have a pre-existing condition, and I pay cash for my health care. This mostly works, except when I forget to account for the three weeks it takes me to get my prescriptions shipped from overseas via a Canadian pharmacy. It is even preferable in some instances, as the generic version of one of my prescriptions has fewer side effects than the brand-name one I am forced to use if I buy the same prescription here.

I knew Healthcare.gov had some issues; it was mentioned in the news. Unfortunately, these “some” issues were drowned by the outrage over the government shutdown. I tried to register on the website on October 1, but was told that the site was too busy, or else I got a general error message. I was not able to register until October 9.

Don’t get me wrong, the registration was not straightforward. The process crashed at least seven times before it stuck and I was not sure what username and password I ended up with when it finally took. Most of us expect an instant registration process online, or maybe having to wait for an email, which will get you onto the site in question within the next 5-10 minutes. I was not able to log in to my Healthcare.gov account until 24 hours later, and as I said, I was not sure which username I ended up with.

My registration was completed on October 10, and I could now log on to fill out my application. The administration’s schtick was that all you needed to do was fill in your address, birthday, and Social Security number. It was quite a bit more than this, but not so demanding as previous health insurance applications I have submitted. (There were two questions regarding health: one asking whether I have a disability, the other whether I need "help with activities of daily living.")

When I was 80 percent done, I had the option to print a complete copy of the information I provided. That amounted to five pages of information. After that, I completed and submitted the application, again expecting fairly instant results. You know, something like submitting a search for a flight or hotel room online. Not so much. The screen said my application was “processing.” I logged on the next day, and the application was still processing.

It might also be worth mentioning that when I say "logged on," I mean a lengthy process of clicking that might or might not work. If it did work, I was taken to a blank page that displayed “success url.” Nothing more happened after that. I worked as a Web producer many years ago, and since then I have also worked on a Web-based logistic management system that served several Fortune 500 customers and their thousands of suppliers, so that the blank page labeled “success url” did not deter me. I hit "reload" and got into the page most of the time.

When I clicked into the application that was listed as "processing," I got a message that I still needed to complete the application. That meant clicking through all the pages again, except this time, all the information was filled out. I again received a confirmation that my application had been received. The status of the application was still “processing.”

After six days of "processing," I tried to use chat support. It very clearly says that you cannot give chat support any information that can identify your application. I am not sure what they are supposed to do if they cannot access and help you with your application. The wait was remarkably short, so I can’t help but wonder if they've hired an army to give excuses for the non-working system.

Chat support was a bust. I was told there were glitches and that I had to call the customer service number to find out what really was happening with my application, if anything. The wait on the phone was remarkably short, too, and a nice young man again told me that there were glitches and he would be happy to take my application over the phone. I called him on his corporate-issued bullshit and asked him the two questions I had, which was if something, eventually, would happen to my application, and when that might be. After repeating the question several times, he finally said that I should check back in on the website at the end of October or beginning of November.

My inner cynic wonders whether the $67 million granted 105 different organizations to help people apply for Obamacare combined with a website that isn’t even ready for alpha-testing is a hidden make-work project to boost employment numbers. The website is not working and the only way to get anything accomplished, at this point, is to fill out a paper application that is mailed in manually.

It is reasonable to question whether the personal mandate should be postponed for another year, if Healthcare.gov can't promise any action on applications submitted now until early November. Frankly, I don’t trust the early November date any more than I trust Congress to cut spending in a meaningful way. Given reports on Obamacare sticker shock, I might continue to stick with my cash-and-carry health care plan, even if it does take me three weeks to fill a prescription. My doctor is really great at her job after all, and I know she takes my current health care plan.

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  • ||

    Did the phone support guy have a thick Indian accent to give this a certain verisimilitude?

  • Lene Johansen||

    No Indian accent, sounded like a Midwesterner to me. It would not be a faux makework project if they outsourced the support function.

  • GILMORE||

    Maybe he meant that the Midwesterners should pretend to be from Bangalore so that end-user ire is directed at 'those damn call center people@!' rather than the actual product-supplier.

    Works for Microsoft (shrug)

  • ||

    The Midwest is popular with tech support because we generally don't have very thick accents.

  • pan fried wylie||

    His accent was thicker than blackstrap molasses.

    /racist

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If he did that would mean it was being operated from a 7-11 or Dunkin' Donuts in Delaware.

  • ||

    Indian customer service stick to the script like no other I tell ya. You can swear, insult, spit, scream - whatever - and they'll still remain true to the company line. It's remarkable.

  • Number 7||

    Expedia.com as run by the DMV.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The screen said my application was “processing.” I logged on the next day, and the application was still processing.

    This is the point where the site tends to DDOS itself.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....7T20131005

  • LarryA||

    "Change you can believe in," if you can get a username and password and log on.

  • MCStengle||

    Due to the high volume of activity, your submission to change.gov has been redirected to hope.gov. Have a nice day.

  • Paul.||

    website that isn’t even ready for alpha-testing is a hidden make-work project to boost employment numbers.

    No. As I said before, it's a giant keylogger set up by the NSA.

    That's why when you put in your banking credentials in that phishing email telling you there is a problem with your account, it doesn't actually take you into your account.

    All those SSNs and personal details you entered into the Obamacare site to have it just freeze or go to a 404 message? Yeah, the NSA now has all your shit. No 'spying' required.

  • Lene Johansen||

    NSA already has all of our stuff, I would not be surprised if the next news following the news about the 35 world leaders that they spied on will be that Obama was among them!

  • crazyfingers||

    Snowden said he had the ability to access Obama's personal communications if he wanted to.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, no, no. All of these login attempts and entries are a giant entropy generation scheme. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good random numbers?

    Ask not what you country can do for you. Ask what you can randomize for your country!

  • Jquip||

    So you can keep your existing plan after all. And Kafka giggled.

  • IceTrey||

    It's not hidden make-work it's a blatant attempt yo force single payer which is what Obama wanted all along. We all know the governments solution to government failure is more government.

  • Len Bias||

    Since ObamaCare is hurting Obama's credibility, we have to ask: Is ObamaCare racist? I see no other explanation for its failures.

  • GILMORE||

    I have heard much of this Overseas paradise, Canada. I long to one day trod on its shores of economic liberty.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Best I can tell, Barrycares has no API; if it does, its probably a zillion little ones compartmentalized and incompatible, distributed among the contractor horde.

    Which begs the question, how do they 'fix' it? With no API that says, say, gross-income is always a double-float localized to US dollars, how do they know who broke what if gross income is currently corrupted through the system?

    I'll tell you, contractor infighting over who screwed up reading paragraph three in RS2389472938472 regarding expressions of US Dollars for gross income, that's how.

    With no everyone-on-same-page API, there is no 'fixed in six weeks.' They're stuck figuring out problems as users find the problems for them. Which means people have to use it first. Ruh-roh!

  • Major Johnson||

    You said the only way to get it done would be to fill out a paper application and mail it in. That probably just results in a paid employee sitting down at their computer with your paperwork and going to the website to fill in your application for you, which they can't do either.

  • Real Talk||

    Why is it that most of the places people are having trouble with the Affordable Health Care web-site, are in states like Texas and other states where the majority of dumb uneducated hillbillies reside?

  • Jquip||

    Well, to be fair, they're the sort of uneducated inbreds that think the Appalachians are just outside Austin. No helping those folks.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Why is it that progtards can't accept that President Cornball and his team of Merry Morons fucked up the development of a website?

  • Libertarius||

    Because hillbillies have much more sense than "educated" idiots who have never bothered to learn anything beyond the regimen of statist-collectivist propaganda we were all spoon-fed in government skoolz, fascist universities, on tv and in the papers--but the sheep of the new left don't want to discover it, for fear of discovering that they are the morons.

    So they blame everyone but themselves.

  • Jquip||

    Yeh, no fair blaming the guy in charge for being unaware that the chick that couldn't fill out tax forms failed to mind Canadians applying 10,535 pages of regulations into a coherent collection of if/then statements.

    Everyone knows the problem is PHP.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    The ACA is what happens when you develop PHP in English.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Let's just run with your not-so-thinly-veiled implication that the website problems are the fault of the "dumb uneducated hillbilly" users. Are you saying you are OK with people of lesser mental capacity or technical skill dying in the streets because they don't have healthcare?

  • Real Talk||

    Let’s just run with your absolutely thin veiled implication that hillbillies can come close to making decisions on their own. These brainwashed people need Tea Party financiers to tell them what to do and think. When you think about it, these buffoons are voting against their own well-fare.

  • Sevo||

    Real Talk|10.24.13 @ 11:56PM|#
    ..."When you think about it, these buffoons are voting against their own well-fare."

    I was considering sarc, but, naah. Just plain abysmal stupidity.
    Gee, Real Talk, a brand new brain-dead ignoramus!

  • Christophe||

    Oh god I actually went to the blog. This is either an elaborate troll, or Tony 2.0.

  • montana mike||

    No, this mofo troll has blown his cover way short of his expiration date...c'mon he can't even grasp the well fare, welfare conundrum...he's not a defcon 1 threat to the nation at present or in the future...present circumstances don't guarantee future results, this dipshit doesn't doesn't the difference.

  • montana mike||

    edit "know" the difference

  • LynchPin1477||

    1) You never did answer my question, but I was being condescending so let me ask it again without the sarcasm. Why should the intelligence or technical skill of the end-user matter? The ACA wasn't sold as "healthcare for smart people". In fact, the uninsured are probably disproportionately people with little education and tech skills. If the website isn't working for its intended users, it's a bad website, period.

    2) Many have stated it before, but it is worth repeating: education is not synonymous with intelligence.

    3) When you think about it, these buffoons are voting against their own well-fare.

    That might be what you conclude, but when I think about it, I conclude that people rarely act against their own interests. When people act differently than I would in their shoes, it is probably because they don't share my values.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I was looking over some CNN comments yesterday, and there was one commenter that would just not stop insisting that, overall, the ACA was working OK. He/she specifically cited the availability of over-the-phone and mail-in registration as proof, and insisted that the website "glitches" were totally unsurprising given the overwhelming demand and complexity. There were at least 5 people pointing out that many private companies handle much more demand, complexity, or both without any major problems. This person would just not hear any of it. It was amusing, especially their belief that people would accept paper applications as a reasonable alternative. I am really enjoying the show!

  • John Galt||

    My local newspaper says if you have any problems getting Healthcare.gov to work smoothly it's because you are an illiterate retard, not because there are any problems with Healthcare.gov.

  • montana mike||

    Do you live in Missoula.lol

  • montana mike||

    The backpedaling on this is going to be hilarious, the czar in chief indeed has shown he has no clothes.

  • Eeyore||

    Next up, "Hackers gain access to the personal information of all users of the insurance exchange, by exploiting a security hole."

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    "There were two questions regarding health: one asking whether I have a disability, the other whether I need "help with activities of daily living."

    Isn't this redundant? Isn't it the core assumption of modern Progressivism that EVERYONE needs help with activities of daily living, provided by the government? Without them to get me out of bed in the morning, I'd do nothing but lie around in a pool of my own filth, watching Fox News.

  • newshutz||

    but at least you will get to keep your top hat and monocle while watching Fox News

  • casey5990||

    Google is paying 80$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. Yesterday I bought a top of the range Lancia after having made $9458 this month. Its the most-financialy rewarding I've had. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out www.Pow6.com

  • Anvil||

    The only time when govt. works expediently is when it involves receiving money.

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