My application has been submitted! I have eligibility results!
I can't view them because the screen isn't working. But I have them!!
When I consider what Amazon is doing right now with the Christmas rush--and the fact that everything I have ordered has been shipped on-time, even ahead of schedule . . .December 5, 2013
Let's just say, I can't speak to capitalism's ethics (at least, I won't right now), but efficiency-wise, when it comes to Big Government:
The trains don't run on time.
I have been checking on my application here and there over the past month +. It is still in progress. (I can finally access the website using Firefox rather than IE.)October 22, 2013
The website currently declares, "Enroll by Dec. 23 for coverage starting as soon as Jan. 1."
So I went to log-in.
It didn't work.
I don't mean my info was wrong. I mean, the website just kicked me back to the same log-in page (several times).
Do the people who designed the website believe what is posted ON the website?
I have my doubts.
I knew it! Very good article from Yahoo about the Marketplace's problems: http://news.yahoo.com/builders-obamas-health-website-saw-red-flags-070429400.htmlOctober 17, 2013
Over the past week, the Marketplace has been down more than it has been up.
My application is still in progress.
October 8, 2013
The system has been down (or at least has admitted to being down) for 24 hours now. The current message: We're currently making system improvements. Please try again after 10:00 AM Eastern.
I'm afraid the fire sale of Live Free or Die Hard is looking less and less of a possibility. Why do people assume that the answer to a big inefficient problem is big inefficient government? And where's Harold Finch when you need him?
I was able to get on around 11:00 a.m.; my application is still being processed. I'm not sure if this is because the system was down or if several days is typical. If each application must be individually reviewed . . . I may not know if I have coverage until March 2014! (Except that I'm supposed to have the option of signing up for whatever they offer me on January 1, 2014.)
For the sake of clarification, the cheapest insurance currently available would cost me about the same as a car payment: $240 or so a month (I would save $70 because I don't smoke). This sounds great except it comes with a $5,000 deductible. I don't pay anything even close to this amount on my doctors' appointments per year, so basically . . . my life wouldn't change. (Now, if I HAD $5,000 a year extra . . .) Even the best plan in Maine--$373/month--comes with a $650 deductible; believe it or not, I don't spend even that much per year on medical bills. In fact, if the government just GAVE me $500, I would be able to see my eye doctor, my dentist, and maybe even get a check-up!
Catastrophic Care--which is all I really need (in case of a $50,000 trip to the hospital)--would cost me only $40/month less with a $6,000 deductible.*
To sum up, whatever I do, I will mostly be paying to keep the government off my back. Granted, this is what I did all those years when I had health insurance through my workplace (I am currently a contract worker; my employers have until 2015 to decide whether or not their contract workers qualify for healthcare.) Of course, all I saw back then was $30 coming out of each pay-check. Ah, the difference immediacy makes . . . !
At this point, I have no idea what the Marketplace will offer me. I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't cover anything I actually use, so I'll . . . be paying to keep the government off my back. But right now, this is a wait and see game.
*I can appreciate that without health insurance, somebody--possibly me for the rest of my life--would have to pay that $50,000 hospital bill; however, I dislike politicians trumpeting how great it is that everyone has health care--come on, what does that REALLY mean?
The system fails to recognize my password. It then fails to "find" the website. Good thing I have until March 2014! (That's about how long this will take.)October 4, 2013
I got on about 10:30 a.m. and was able to begin the application. I was stopped by not having all the necessary information (to provide accurate information, you do need tax forms, paychecks, etc.). I have not been able to get on again since. (It is now 4:10 p.m.)
As I mentioned before, the site is quite user friendly--though there are still bugs--just not accessible. There is something downright unsettling about the government being inefficient, tedious, and long-queued even online.
What--do bureaucrats take an oath or something? Do nothing in a timely fashion!
My personal theory: politicians are highly unrealistic. They said to each other, "Well, even though we've been going on and on about all the uninsured people in America, most people get insurance from their jobs, and they won't try to apply for a cheaper option because they will realize how important it is for poor people to get insurance, so they will get insurance the ordinary way, and besides, they have until March to get this done, and you know how people put off doing their taxes, and the IRS never has these problems."
In other words, politicians forget the basic rule of self-interest and free lunch. If there's a free lunch, people will want it.
8:00 p.m., using Internet Explorer, I successfully applied (I did have to start the process over). The system went kerplunk before it could offer me eligibility options.
Interestingly enough, between this morning and this afternoon, instead of having to enter my income employer by employer, the system was able to deduce my income from my 2012 Federal Tax submission. Well, duh! I mean, why ask me about my 2012 taxes in the first place if the system couldn't make the comparison all on its own?
Live Chat is now up and running.
Back on! At this point, the program can't decide if I have eligibility results, if my application is still in progress, or if I should be forced to start all over again with the application process. Presumably, the bugs on this part of the process will be ironed out in a couple of days.October 2, 2013
At 7:00 a.m., my log-in was successful. I was taken to an empty User Profile page (empty as in a big, blank, white screen).
8:00 a.m., the site is now under maintenance.
10:00 a.m., still under maintenance. U.S. Citizens broke the Machine!
So much for the Matrix.
At 12 p.m., I gained access to my account. I then tried to verify my identity--which failed. At 1:00 p.m. I was able to enter my phone number after numerous tries--identity now verified. (Maybe.)
7:00 p.m.: User profile not working.
9:28 p.m.: The friendly "Please stay on this page" notice has now been up for over 2 hours. This notice usually gives way within a few minutes to the log-in page. Methinks the machine 'tis truly broken. Luddites throughout the world rejoice! (But doesn't it kind of disprove every evil-government-conspiracy movie ever?)
Live Chat is still down.Trying to access the account:
Unfortunately, the site wouldn't recognize my log-in name or password. I requested a "reminder," and it still hasn't arrived (it never arrived).I'll say this: The interface is much more user friendly than, say, FAFSA or anything associated with the IRS.
Out of curiosity, at 11:00, I called the Help line. My estimated wait time was less than 5 minutes. While waiting, I had to listen to blurbs about the Affordable Healthcare Act.
My call was answered! The obviously working-from-a-script answerer used my phone number to connect me to an address. She then started to give me a spiel about where I could find more information on the website.
"Woah," I said. "I don't need this. I just need to know why I can't log in even though I've created an account."
"I'm required to give you this information," she said.
I guess the script then allowed her to stop trying to give me information and just talk to me.
"There's a lot of people on the website right now," she said.
"Is that why I can't log in?" I said. "Because the little note on the bottom of the page says it's because my information isn't valid. But is the real reason because of the number of people on the site?"
"Yes," she said. "Again, I apologize--"
"It's not your fault," I said. "I just wanted to know if that was the reason."
She would have sounded relieved if she hadn't sounded so tired.
"Yes," she said and then her voice lifted ever so hopefully: "You could try tomorrow!"
I suppose that's why they hired her: the eternal optimist.
But then FAFSA actually works.
And, okay, I have to say this: if a for-profit business went live on the Internet with these bugs, it would lose all its customers within a few hours. There's nothing like a captive audience! (Did the creators or the bureaucrats funding the creators think the traffic wouldn't be as heavy as it is today?)
The sign-up process:
I realize that trying to access Healthcare.gov on Day 1 is pretty silly, but I figured, hey, why not?!
Around 3:00 p.m., I went onto the site using Firefox. I started the sign-up process, but the security questions part of the sign-up process was blank.
I pulled up Internet Explorer and restarted the sign-up process. A page appeared telling me that I would be transferred to the sign-up page once things got less busy (this is the electronic equivalent of waiting for your number to be called at the DMV--in a room with a linoleum floor and Formica chairs.)
The process didn't work on Internet Explorer either (even after I updated to IE 8).
I returned to using Firefox (which I prefer). This time, I hit "Live Chat" and ended up back in a waiting room.
I requested Live Chat at 3:23. At 4:32, I received this message: "Please be patient while we're helping other people." At 8 p.m., Live Chat shut down completely: "Sorry, Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat isn't available right now. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again later, or call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-318-2596. We look forward to helping you."
9:30 p.m. The website changed slightly, becoming a little less DMV, a little more Walt Disney: "We have a lot of visitors on the site right now, and we don't want you to lose your place in line. Please stay on this page."
10:10 p.m. After two failed attempts where Marketplace couldn't recognize my answers to their (very limited) questions, I now have an account!