December 4, 2013

Healthcare.gov: Betty's Experience



In October I wrote about my attempt to buy health insurance with the post, Retirement Advice: My First Hand Experience with Healthcare.gov.I don't need to recap all the disasters of the government web site. I am not sure I will ever understand how something so important to the president was allowed to be so bad. I will leave that to all the books that will eventually be written about the ACA (Obamacare) launch.

For me, little did I know I would be one of the handful of people who managed to work through that seriously flawed system to actually purchase a policy that was both superior and cheaper than the one I have been stuck with the last dozen years. I did have to come back several times to complete the application, pick a policy, and enroll. But, it did work.

At that time, Betty had yet to try her hand at finding a replacement for her truly miserable private policy. A few days after I was successful, we went on-line to start her application process. I had convinced her it might take a little time, but the process was working.

Immediately, things started to go wrong. Time after time, her application would get stuck on a page and not advance. Or, after clicking the Next button, the screen would go blank, and stay that way. Information that we entered was not saved, so each time we were bumped from the system everything we had entered was lost and we started all over again.

Finally, after a solid week we managed to finish the on-line application. Within a few days the screen told us her application was being processed. That sounded good. A week later, still processing, two weeks, three weeks....still processing.

At that point we called the 800 number several times. No one could tell us why nothing was happening but to keep checking back. The phone operators quickly acknowledged the system's flaws but were powerless to help us.

At last, the application showed it was complete and to check a box to see Betty's eligibility results. Nothing happened. We tried over a several day period and each time we landed on a dead page. Again, back on the phone we went. Now we were told someone from the Advance Resolution Center would call us. They had the power to help.

Apparently, they didn't have the power to call. Two calls requesting help from these all-powerful people and five weeks later and we still stuck with a completed application that we couldn't access to actually buy a policy. In fact, now we were kicked from "View your eligibility" back to a new application and told to start all over again. Except the system had a wrong Social Security number for Betty and wouldn't allow us to change it.

By this time Betty's current insurer had told her she'd have to pay $80 more a month starting in January to keep the half-baked coverage she had now. We were facing a real deadline just a month away.

On December 2nd, with everything still stuck we called again. This time the operator couldn't find her application at all. Apparently it was complete all right...completely lost. This time we insisted on being switched immediately to the Resolution Center. The nice lady there couldn't find Betty's policy either. It had simply disappeared.

There is a happy ending.The very patient operator told us she could complete a new application for us, get it approved in 30 seconds, and allow Betty to purchase a policy immediately. And, that is exactly what she did. After another 30 minutes of answering the same questions, she pushed the right buttons and had Betty signed up for a policy that saved us $70 a month with a tremendous increase in medical coverage.

Persistence paid off. I will never be able to understand why my attempt went through with only minor hitches at a point in October when almost nothing worked, and Betty's attempt fell so far through the cracks that it disappeared.

Betty and I are some of the people the new law was designed to help. But, there is no excuse for such an amateurish launch of such an important program that is frustrating so many people and wasting so many millions of dollars.

If you are attempting to navigate this web site and having real problems, I have three words for you: Advanced Resolution Center.

Update: As of this morning, December 6,  Betty's information has been properly received by her new health insurance company, payment has been made for the first month, and she is now officially signed up. The long and winding road has been traveled successfully.



51 comments:

  1. Hi, Bob. Even though i'm not retired, and may never be, i read your blog and enjoy it tremendously. I bought your e-book, as well.
    My husband and i are insured through his old job; we pay 25% of his take home pay for the privilege. It's not the best coverage, but it's something. I called a local insurance company about the ACA and our coverage would go up. Do you know, would it be cheaper if we went through the ACA, on our own? Do insurance companies add on fees for the privilege of helping us? I haven't seen anything about this and you seem like the man with the answers. Thank you for any help you can give.

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    1. It depends if you qualify for any government subsidies. They are available in various amounts for those who make up to four times the official poverty level, which is $62,000 for a couple. If your income is less than that and you buy directly from an insurance company or broker you cannot receive any subsidy. I don't think they add fees, but depending on your income you could be giving up several thousand dollars a year by not buying from the government web site or phone in number.

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    2. Thank you for this! I'll try the ACA web site to see if it's any cheaper. We do qualify for subsidies, but through the insurance company, our rates were still more than we're now paying. Yah! I feel hopeful! Thanks, again!

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  2. Very clear recount of your situation. Thank you. You used the term "we" in working through the application. You are computer savvy; is Betty? What if she did not have you to help her. Think of the person who does not use a computer on a regular basis. Filling out a paper application is difficult; if someone does not feel comfortable on the computer image what their experience would be like?

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    1. She was more comfortable in having me by her side and actually clicking the answers she picked for each question.

      In virtually every community there are places people can go to get help filling out the online application. That information is available on the web site or my calling the 800 number..

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I'm curious why you purchased two policies instead of one (husband and wife) -- was there a subsidy advantage in your situation? Also, I'm assuming you qualified for a subsidy, otherwise (at least here where we live) you could have obtained coverage direct from the insurer. Best regards.

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    1. Good question, Rick. Yes, there was a substantial subsidy advantage that made applying separately the best choice. At this time, going directly through the insurer would have precluded using those subsidies.

      Also, I will be switching to Medicare in May. I wasn't sure if cancelling my policy then would mess up Betty's coverage if we applied jointly.

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    2. Bob,

      There shouldn't be an advantage for applying separately because income tests are by household, not individual. If I read the law correctly it also impacts tax filings in that couples receiving subsidy must file taxes jointly. That is how the IRS will evaluate subsidy amounts.

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    3. A continuation to my last comment.

      I assume from your other comments that you each chose individual policies. Did you both use the same household income? If not you might have a problem once tax time comes around in 2015. Have not run the numbers for individual policies with the same income vs a single family policy so would be interested in your actual numbers.

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    4. That's what I thought but after filling out Betty's application that included the facts about us filing a joint return and our joint income, she did have her own subsidy separate from mine.

      This may be a glitch that bites us down the road, but when she signed up I specifically asked about this and was told the subsidies were figured for each person, even if filing a joint return.

      Go figure.

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    5. Yes, RDC, we chose individual polices and used the same total income on both applications.

      To provide some protection in case there are mistakes in how this plays out, we used figures for our joint income that were about $7,000 more than I actually expect us to earn. Thus, when tax time comes our tax subsidies will either provide an additional refund or provide some cushion if the information we received was wrong and the subsidies were figured incorrectly.

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  4. It was good to get this perspective from someone who is in favor of obtaining the coverage, so that the review can be deemed objective. I have heard that Medicaid Part B and the Massachusetts program, too, had some problems at initial rollout, although I have not verified this for myself. I hope that these problems are soon sorted out. Thanks for the information. I don't need to use the exchange, but I have several friends and family members who will be using it.

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    1. We are in favor for two simple reasons: our current coverage through the individual market is poor and very expensive and going up in cost 18% every single year, plus we qualify for good-sized subsidies.

      Better coverage for a lower cost = an easy choice.

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  5. Thanks. I think--having the worst insurance in the world--the ACA is desperatly needed. I won't blame Obama yet as I know there are many many elements at play.

    That all said--I live in South Carolina. Attempting to get anywhere on the site itself turned into a not amusing joke. I called, was approved, and was told I would get the rest of the application via email in two-three weeks. I called once after two weeks and was told to wait. After 3 weeks I was told they could only see what I could see--which makes no sense really. this was last Wensday. I was told to call back on 12/02--all the problems would be solved by then. That didn't sound believable.
    I'm planning on calling today or tomorrow--and will definitely ask for the Advanced Resolution Center. People keep telling me to go to an insurance agent as my subsidy will be very small--maybe $25-$50 a month--but that adds up. As does the $500 I pay a month that covers virtually nothing which is better than the $900 a month I was paying that covered even less. When I lived in NY I paid $1300 a month--it's a "no pre-existing condition state" but my doctors visits cost me $10 and I had more money then. It makes me laugh that one of the reasons I have less money is because I won't be without as good a health insurance policy as I can get. Going broke paying for insurance. I so believe in the ACA--flaws and all.

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    1. The rollout was seriously botched and the president must shoulder some of the blame. But, after the blame game has played its course, people need to focus on a few basic facts: 85% of Americans get insurance through their employer. Those policies have seen increasing costs with decreasing coverage for the past half dozen years, but now the insurance companies can blame the latest increases on something other than their own profit motives: Obamacare.

      My wife had several preexisting conditions that prevented her from ever changing coverage, until the ACA became law. She is not alone. Virtually all people over the age of 40 have at least one such condition that keeps them from getting decent coverage at a reasonable cost.

      The law is very far from perfect but is a start.

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  6. I haven't tried it yet. One day when I have nothing else to do I'll give it a shot. My insurance is expensive and I would love to save some $$, but I'm still holding off. I'm more inclined to call someone immediately if it isn't working smoothly. My husband will avoid talking to someone if at all possible. I've found having a live person on the other end makes things easier. I'll let you know how it goes.
    b

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    1. You do have the option of having someone on the phone take your application information, or use a person in your community to sit with you and walk through the process.

      There is no harm in finding out if you will save money. You don't actually commit to anything until you send a check to the insurance company!

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  7. Having just reached eligibility for Medicare, I've been spared the ACA nightmare. (Of course, for the past ten years I've been dealing with the old medical insurance nightmare ... I guess either way it ain't no fun). Anyway, contacting healthcacregov sounds almost as bad as when you call the helpline for your computer problems!

    But I'm glad there was a happy ending. Now ... just stay healthy, which is the best health insurance of all!

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    1. With my Medicare starting in May I gave some thought to just skipping all of this for the first four months of 2104. But being without health coverage for even that short period is just too risky for me.

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  8. I also am on Medicare so I avoided having to deal with the ACA. I appreciate your passing on these facts and being so fair in your assessment of this legislation. I can't help but wonder why companies who design websites (think Amazon etc.) with complicated choices and data entry can do such a good job and the government cannot.

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    1. The government tends to involve lowest bidders, or those with a pre-existing relationship, not necessarily those qualified to do the specific job required. I have read that there were 55 different companies involved in the design of the web site. That equals disaster for anyone, government or private business, that attempts to make that work.

      I am reading a book about the history of Amazon. They had major web site problems during their first several years. What you experience now on their web site is about 15 years of constant development.

      With a technologically-oriented president, I certainly expected the rollout to be much smoother.

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  9. As a former county employee (who was covered under a group insurance plan), now eligible for Medicare, so watching the ACA issue from the sidelines, I'd also like to know how this situation was so botched. I was in the field when California switched to the statewide voter system & dire crises were predicted in that situation. While there were a few small glitches, and the issue was much less complicated (although just as important), there were far fewer snafusl. I know government can "mess up" but I've also seen governmental agencies (& the folks working in those agencies) perform miracles. From the outside looking in, and a simplistic comment at best, it seems to me that in this case not enough folks for whatever reason cared enough & had enough respect for their jobs (& the President) to do the extra small steps that would have made this program a success not a failure. It also appears that the folks in charge had blind faith that the work was being done correctly; quality control was not perfect.

    I hope the issues can be resolved; I know too many folks who either have no insurance because of preexisting conditions or simple finances, or who are literally paying half their income for crummy health coverage; in a country that can afford an iPad for every home, I feel that is a disgrace. Folks should not have to choose between eating & medications; at least this is the first step (albeit a shaky one!)

    I agree with Tom Sightings---staying healthy is the best insurance of all!

    pam

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    1. Staying healthy as long as possible is the best revenge.

      You have identified one of the key problems: quality control. From what I can gather President Obama doesn't like bad news, he just wants people to do their job. That approach kept him in the dark until it was too late to solve many of the problems ahead of the October 1st disaster.

      But, as I have noted above, a large, complex web site takes years to remove all wrinkles. Heavens, how many times a month (or week) does Microsoft release a patch or fix for Windows? That program has been around for a few decades and they still have issues with every upgrade.

      Our society wants everything fixed instantly. Life isn't like that, especially when computers are involved!

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  10. As an old IT person I know that patches are always needed, but if Microsoft had a rollout like this you wouldn't be hearing of them anymore. It is my understanding that policy decisions were made too late to get the coding done and that management was too fractured for necessary communication. I think the IT people may be getting a bad rap. Also I believe that back end coding is being done now. So your insurance company may not know that you exist at this point. I hope that things smooth out down the road, but I think it will take awhile. There will almost certainly be more chaos and major concerns about security. While I was all for health care reform (especially for people like you and Betty), my concerns about ACA go far beyond the technology. I guess you and I will continue to agree to disagree on that. But both of us will hope for a good outcome. For those of us on Medicare, the change that we will see (and many are already seeing) is limited access to doctors and health care facilities due to funding cuts. Those cuts may have been inevitable. Don't know what the answer to that is. Lots of us old people needing lots of care. It will take some sharp problem solvers. So far we don't have any of those in DC.

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    1. The funding cuts for Medicare were in place well before the ACA. Congress has yet to pass the "doc fix" extension for next year so things might get much worse. The so-called $717 billion dollars in Medicare cuts are actually expected reductions in money wasted on fraud over a 10 year period, not a cut in Medicare funding as some politicians love to claim.

      No argument from me that Medicare needs work, but it is as close to universal care as we have at the moment (coupled with Medicaid) and overall, is working well. I am looking forward to getting on board in May.

      Asking D.C. to come up with a solution is pretty much a waste of breath. In another 7 days they take another break until next year. Congress only works around 142 days a year. That might be fine for a small country, but not this one. We have full time problems that need full time attention.

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    2. The devil is in the details. While ACA does not cut Medicare benefits, it provides for a reduction in future in payments to doctors and health care facilities. In other words, you are entitled to the same benefits, but your doctor/hospital won't make as much. When you get on Medicare you will be amazed to see how little the doctor gets paid through Medicare. Congress has done this before but they always override it at the last minute. And they probably will this time, too. There is always a lot of drama in the news about it and then they override it. I wonder if it will be harder to override now that it is a part of ACA. When I had to change doctors a couple of years ago, I called quite a few before I found one who would take new Medicare patients. Too uncertain , I guess. But overall I have been pleased with Medicare... but then I am very healthy. We could probably debate this forever, Bob. And I always like to hear "the other side". Our family is all over the place politically and we have great conversations.

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    3. Healthy debates are good for everyone, Otherwise how will we ever learn something new!

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  11. Bob,
    I don't know a lot about insurance because we've always had it through my husband's employment, but is there some reason you and Betty aren't on the same plan together? Is there an advantage to having individual plans?

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    1. Neither she or I ever worked for a company that provided insurance. We have been on the individual market since early in 1980. There is no such thing as a couple's policy for individual insurance.

      For the ACA she has more health issues than I do, so we bought her a more expensive gold plan with better coverage. I am on a silver plan that will carry me until May when Medicare takes over.

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  12. Sorry, Bob! I just saw where someone else asked you the same question earlier. :)

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    1. No problems, Glenda. I hadn't mentioned the gold-silver plan differences before.

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  13. Have you gotten the initial bill from the insurance company? She is not covered until that bill arrives and is paid. Latest word is that the back end is even more messed up then the front end. Files are not being transferred to the insurance company correctly.

    I would suggest that if you haven't heard anything from the insurance company call them and see if they have received her information from the system.

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    1. She just signed up yesterday so no bill yet. She signed up with the same company I did and it took them one week to get me the paperwork. So, by next Monday we will call the company if nothing.

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    2. Since you have gotten your paperwork, how does your network of available physicians look?

      Mine was cut in half compared to my pre-ACA commercial plan.

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    3. The network is smaller but not nearly enough to make me sorry about saving $200 a month. There are still plenty of choices, all within no more than 10 miles from my home. And, again, I get so many more services than my old policy provided I will save more than that premium difference.

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  14. I am a retired computer specialist (senior level coder, analyst, designer, and tester - who also answered midnight calls and was required to fix ASAP anything that went wrong 24 by 7)

    Aren't you terrified about identity theft, HIPPA violations, deductuables (before any benefits are paid - haha, except for your pregnancy....) your own doctor not being 'in network'. etc.?

    Sounds terrifying to me!!!!

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    1. No more terrified than I am of hackers stealing my info from my bank or stock broker or credit card company.

      Those risks are part of our lives today. We have much to fear from cyber terrorists than any problems through this web site.

      I don't chose to live in fear off all the things that could go wrong. If they do I will deal with them. If they don't I haven't wasted time and energy on worry.

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  15. I love all the discussion and information shared here Bob...it really does make us stronger as people and a nation to share.I am an RN who works for a health insurance company by day and a large hospital by evening.I have been a nurse for the insurance company for 12 yrs and the hospital 32 yrs and a nurse 36 yrs so not my 1st rodeo.My husband and I get our health insurance coverage thru his employer, my husband is also employed by same large hospital and between them paying 75% and my husband receiving "employee credits" our share for 2 people equals $134 every 2 weeks deducted for us from his paycheck pretax dollars.If I covered us thru the health insurance company I work for it would be $343 for jusy my coverage.If we could not get coverage thru my hubby I will go to ACA and see what it would cost there.What I would not do unless no other option is go to an insurance company I work for one I know what goes on enough said.One last comment is about the doctors and reimbursement- it is alot more complicated than just pennies on the dollar from Medicare and Medicaid.The doctors are participating in many shared avenues of income streams like Pay for Performance,annual reviews and Federal goverment programs like the new Medicare Stars program etc.There is a complicated reimbursement scale for certain diseases,procedures and populations.The doctors may not like how finances have gone but they are all working and busy right? A few docs have left the profession but if you believe most are in health care for unselfish reasons after taking on debt.....let's just say Really? I have a good doc but he is not in it to just get by he has a wife that is also a physician and they have same wants/dreams for their children and life that we all do.Medicine is a business now days just ask the accountants.

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    1. Thanks for your input from "inside" the system. You are not the first person I've heard from who works in the health insurance industry and says less than complementary things about them.

      To be fair, though, I know at least one person on the flipside of that attitude. He worked for years in the industry and gives it high marks for working as well as it does in a very difficult environment.

      I appreciate the extra info on doctors' compensation, in addition to whatever Medicare's reimbursement level is.

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  16. Hi Bob,

    I am in Oregon, was finally able to do my application online on Nov 5 on the state website. I called a week later to confirm that it was receved and being processed (even though I received online confirmation). Was told they had it and that it was being worked. I previously had the Oregon High Risk Insurance Pool (only thing I could get) and it will be gone as of Jan. 1. The site is still not able to enroll anyone. I called again yesterday to once again confirm processing, as I have to receive a letter in the mail confirming that I qualify for the subsidy, then must receive the enrollment package, and fill it out and mail it in, and then must make a payment by Dec 31. Because of my prior insurance, I have priority (!!!). They cofirmed it was being processed and I should receive something soon. It's been a month since they got my application, and I have nothing yet! I am terrified that I will not receive everything in time. We are also planning to leave for the holidays on the 23rd, and won't be back until after the 1st (bought train tickets in Sept). I have resigned myself to the fact that I may be without insurance for a month. We are visiting my Mother who is in poor health, and this may be her last Christmas. I may be forced to choose having insurance in Jan or spending Christmas with my mother. I have been trying since Oct 1 to get insurance, as it will save us over $600 mo for a little better coverage. Oregon was onboard from the beginning and didn't waste time on fighting the process as many states did, and yet here we are with very few people actually enrolled to date. Many, many thousands have applied. Don't have much else to add, my stomach aches!

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    1. From what I have read, the state-run sites like California, New York, and Kentucky have done very well enrolling people with few computer mishaps. I am surprised to learn of your troubles with the Oregon version. That is one state I would have assumed would have set up things correctly right from the start.

      I know the heartburn you are experiencing. Even though we believe Betty was properly signed up a few days ago, until we get a notice and bill from the insurance company we are not letting down our guard. A call to the insurance company and the Resolution Center might be in order tomorrow.

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    2. Update: I just talked to Cover Oregon again and they assured me that the application was in order and that I would receive the enrollment package in time. Even if I don't receive it (it is snowng like crazy here, and mail is doubtful for a few days!) I can call and they will do it all on the phone. Also, once I receive the packet, I can also do it over the phone - even if that was from my Mother's in CA. She said that I absolutely will have insurance because of my priority status. She is also making a few phone calls and will call me back early next week with an update. The people are wonderful to talk to. They just should have had people apply on paper right off the bat so they would not have this crunch now. They are working 24/7 six days a week to get everything processed in time. I feel much better and now believe that I will have the coverage on Jan 1.

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    3. Good news. Now, enjoy your snowy weekend.

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  17. I took your advice and asked for the Advanced Resolution Center and was told that technical problems aren't solved there--it's a misperception too many people believe.

    My application has been completed and approved. But my user name won't go through. I refuse to make the decision on the phone (had no success online) as I'm a person who needs to read my choices--the deductible and coinsurance aren't the same as the ones on the site or that I can find on the Internet. Also I think they're using last years income which was much less than this one will be--and I have told them that in every phone call.

    Several years ago my premiums went up over 39%--I sent repeated enquires to the White House and nobody responded. Yet premiums went up a bit less in California and the White House was outraged. Their premiums weren't allowed to go up at all. It wasn't as if I were paying less than people in California.

    I was told not to call back until the middle of next week. I need the insurance by January 1st--I literally began this process on 10/01--though I knew it was too early.

    I can't help but think because I live in a "red" state I'm being penalized--wouldn't if just one of my numerous enquires had been answered.

    I believe if it works President Obama will one day be considered a great president. But I shouldn't be calling every day now--apparently the notes one navigator takes and is supposed to attach to my file haven't been. I have to give the same story over and over again. I have lost faith and don't believe people will do what they say.

    I feel as if they want me to call back and say "OK, I'll take X plan even though I haven't seen it" so that there numbers will go up. there are many other reasons aside from needing to read it I need to actually see it. 3 people have told me it would be better if I made a decision on the spot. Do they get points? financial incentives? Rhetorical question.

    No person from any state, red, blue or purple, should have to wait for this. I'm starting to rethink the tea party (kind of kidding) as my city is run by a tea party government and as much as I want to complain can't.

    I can tell you all about the original Mousketeers as I had to do something mindless while being put on hold many many times today. (One time I called because they called and told me things were missing.) Nothing was but it was good I called as the person before did say I would get everything in writing within 2-24 hours.

    I'm all over facebook supporting this and feel as if I did people a disservice.

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    1. When you ask to be transferred to the Resolution center say "I need to make a change in a completed application." It is true you won't get transferred if the person you are speaking to believes you are experiencing a technical glitch in your original application. But, by saying you need to make a change, they should transfer you because the 800 number operators can't do that.

      If the person won't do so, ask to speak to a Supervisor and make the same request. Betty had been promised twice someone from the Resolution Center would call her and after 5 weeks, nothing. That, coupled with the line about the application change is what got us through the barrier and her new application and enrollment finished in 20 minutes.

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    2. The delays are not a red state blue state thing. They are pretty universal. I am in California, one of the states that is supposedly working well. Yet I started on October 6. Completed the application and selected my carrier the same day. I have had several exchanges (letters from covered california, online submissions of information, frequent calls, etc) concerning proof of residency, proof of income, proof of social security number, status, etc. My information only got to the insurance company this week.

      The system here very much suffers from a lack of feedback on status, lack of confirmation of receipt of information, lack of confirmation if information submitted is sufficient to answer their questions, no ability to escalate beyond the initial customer service number to try and get answers, etc.

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    3. I'm angry. I began the first week of October. I was accepted immediately--didn't need proof of anything. But they can't officially accept me as they can't email or mail me anything because of two possible problems--my user name not taking and/or it being a PDF form. Neither answer makes sense.

      I believe they gave me too big a subsidy but I don't know as I haven't seen anything. I was told to get the subsidy lowered I would have to file an appeal. That's a bit weird as I'm trying to give them money. I thought maybe the people misunderstood--said this in two calls--and thought I wanted more of a subsidy but no they knew I think (but am not sure) that I'm eligible for less.

      The supervisor, advanced resolution center problems. When I called today the guy I spoke to said that basically the clock stops when you ask for either and are supposed to be put through immediately. He said, in these exact words: "they probably didn't want people to know the mistakes they were making."

      Actually a very nice woman from Blue Cross had tried to fill out the application. She encountered error messages she had never seen before and did a conference call with a government navigator.

      Still couldn't get any confirmation. I had the supervisor read me back the notes she took. She said I declined to go to a naviagator's office. True as it would be a $30 RT cab ride and more importantly nobody in their offices could "reach" the form I was supposed to get; I have filled it out three times properly, it didn't take the fourth time, and I fail to see how that could be helpful.

      She had two other refusals and didn't put the reasons why I refused which were important and rational.

      For the first time in my adult life I almost began screaming. Instead I had to hang up as I began crying--and I don't even cry when a loved one dies.

      It's so frustrating because they have the approval and the amount yet they can't print anything out or send me anything so I can see the info nor can I fill out the forms and apply for a fifth time (you can apply as many times as you need) myself because of the user name not taking. Should this be my problem?

      When I worked for the government we owned our mistakes. I'm not applying at the last minute--though it seems it now as it's gone on for two months. I'm not asking them to do anything outside the scope of their jobs.

      I understand the chaos and problems. I can't understand how an approved application can be seen yet not seen. I feel as if I have entered the twilight zone.

      I'm supposed to go away in two weeks and might cancel as I really need this insurance by 01/0l.

      Even with the subsidy I will pay much more than many people from other states as going without insurance here seems to be a badge of honor. When I compare premiums and policies with people my age from other states I feel sick. Yet I'm so used to paying top dollar I will continue to fight for this as it's less than what I was paying and covers my whole body--not half

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  18. I will be trying to enroll this weekend. I am not looking forward to the experience. There are many things that I am not looking forward to as I am faced with getting older. I have found a marvelous book that is really helping me out. The book is called, "Rich in Years" by author Johann Christoph Arnold. http://www.richinyears.com I’d like to learn how to grow old well from someone who is on the same journey and talks candidly about his own struggles. It's a great book! Now wish me luck on getting health coverage!

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    1. If a perfect world, I wouldn't need to write those post, or the one about my experience with the on-line Marketplace, nor should you have to worry about signing up. It should have just worked. But, it didn't. So, we just plunge ahead and figure out how to solve our individual situations.

      Good luck, Robyn, and I will certainly take a look at the book.

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  19. Hi Bob (and Betty). Thought I'd share a success story with you. We went online tonight and good fortune must be with us (or perhaps the online system is working a bit better now), as we were able to get signed up for the plan we wanted in less than half an hour with no glitches. Now we'll just need to get the premium paid (BCBS) on time and we will be set (wish us luck). Interestingly, and happily, the premium is 30% less than the premium we were paying for BCBS coverage through a group plan (I paid 100% of the cost at the firm as I was an owner). Gratefully, we could get this ACA coverage as we are both uninsurable and I have transitioned to part time work this year. Also, glad to get your update and know both of you are now set for 2014 with your coverage in place. Best regards!

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    1. I believe that over time the ACA will become as much a fixture of our society as Social Security and Medicare for the simple reason that it allows tens of millions of people access to decent medical care. Yes, some will pay more. In a capitalist society there is never equality in the costs of society. But, there must be equality in opportunity, and the opportunity to buy health insurance has never been available to as many people.

      The problems and glitches will be ironed out. This is the biggest change to a major portion of our society in decades. Of course it will have problems. And, eventually they will be fixed or modified.

      I am happy for you and your wife, Rick. Betty and i know all too well the problem of having pre-existing conditions that made us unable to ever switch companies, until now.

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