My Obamacare Adventure
My Obamacare adventure started with the dreaded letter from my insurance company. Like millions of other families, my insurance policy is going to be canceled at the end of 2013. I was directed to the healthcare.gov exchange to select a new insurance policy.
With great trepidation I logged on to the healthcare exchange website…well…I tried to log on to the healthcare exchange website. I encountered what millions of other Americans were finding – a website that would not even allow me register. Undeterred, I invested about two hours of effort and was finally able to establish a user profile. A couple days and a couple more hours of effort later, I was able to input information about my family. I was making real progress now.
The next obstacle was that the website could not verify my identity – even after I uploaded passport photos and other types of ID. After waiting weeks to have my identification verified, I finally gave up called the exchange 1-800 number and went through the interview process over the phone. BTW – 6 weeks later, I am still not verified.
The biggest surprise to me during the phone interview process was that the phone questions were different than the website questions. I set aside my growing misgivings and plunged in, finally getting to the end of the interview process. At that point the operator thanked me for my time and effort and started to close the conversation. I interrupted the closing spiel and asked them to hold on for a second. I then proceeded to ask if I could see the health insurance plans now. I was told I would be called into three weeks when the system was ready for me to view the plans stop.
To their credit I was actually called three weeks later and instructed to now log on to healthcare.gov and view the plans. I followed the instructions only to find out that my logon information and profile had been erased and that I would have to start over from the beginning.
At this point I decided to call it quits. I figured I could just contact my local insurance company-the one that I knew had my doctors already in its plan-and ask them directly about their health insurance plans. It took all of 10 minutes for me to open a new application on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website enter my information, view multiple plan options, and select the plan that best meets my family’s needs. I provided my payment information and immediately received email confirmation that we were accepted and enrolled. The whole process took 15 minutes and did not expose my personal information to others in hackers.
So here is my Christmas gift to my readers. Don’t bother using the government website. Go straight to the insurance companies in your area and research the plan options on the websites. You will save yourself hours of frustration, risking your personal information to hackers, and actually be assured of having insurance January 1. Tomorrow read my Obama care experience Part 2 where I will talk about my monthly cost for a family of four under the new Obamacare policies.