As should be clear from these pages, I'm a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act. I've written here about even in my own personal case, I get a huge benefit. The computer glitches are a separate issue. They have zero to do with the law and its benefits. They have to do solely with doing a bad tech job setting up a website -- something that is, in fact, very common when big websites get set up. They're not defensible, just understandable. And, importantly, have nothing to do with how good the law is for those it will impact -- which is all Americans through all the preventative care now required and included for free, but mostly for those in need.
I also believe in full disclosure and being open. And so it's worth noting the hellish experience I had today with the CoveredCA website (which is separate from the national HealthCare.gov).
Yesterday, I received a letter that said my previous registration was received and approved, and all I had to do now was go online and enroll in a plan. I was happy to receive the confirmation of my approval. Less happy to be told to enroll in a plan, since I thought I'd already done so. And then when I did log on, I found an even bigger screw-up with information needing to be added.
It was too late in the day to call, but their offices opened at 8 AM today, so I phoned at 8:01. (There was a funny screw-up here, as well. The recorded messaged said that due to extremely high volume, there would be a long wait, but I could call back later when volume was lower. Since I figured that call volume would never be lower, I stayed on the line -- and 12 seconds later, got a representative! So much for "long wait.")
The rep was very nice, thoughtful, and helpful. Unfortunately, the problem was too bizarre, and she had to get her "team leader" involved. And even he couldn't help, nor could a techie who was there. The issue is too convoluted to explain in detail here, but the short version is that somehow they have two, different records of me applying, and they're causing a conflict. Mind you, I only applied once. I did check in earlier before the exchange opened and looked around at what was available -- but since it was impossible at that point to apply, I didn't.
Alas, after an hour and 40 minutes online, no one could resolve the problem, since they'd never seen it before. (I refer to this as the "Why Me, Lord??" Syndrome.) But they have a very detailed incident report, took my phone number, and are looking into it. Hopefully, one of them will indeed call back, so that I don't have to go through the long explanation again, but I suspect I will have to. At least, the report is meticulous. And at least I started this early in the process, and there are still months to go for it to be resolved.
And it will be resolved. It's a computer glitch. They all recognize it as a computer glitch. It's annoying, but given what the savings and end-result will be -- and the decades I've had my high-cost insurance plan, I can put up with the red-tape for a few more days, or even weeks.
Updates as they occur...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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