How’s That Obamacare Working Out For You So Far? [POLL]
On last night’s Late Show “a go go”, I briefly touched on the Affordable Care Act, and the problems the Administration has had with the rollout of the program.
Mind you, this had nothing to do with the merits or lack thereof of the program – as the jury is still out on that.
I was merely questioning the degree of difficulty in trying to sign up through the website.
I based this on a report I’d seen on CNN detailing the trouble many either have had or are having in enrolling in the program. I found it interesting that despite the much heralded arrival date of the program, glitches were abundant.
Ever since October 1, when Healthcare.gov went live, I've tried to go on the site and enroll. I don't need health insurance -- I get it from my employer -- but I wanted to see how easy (or difficult) it is for the millions of Americans who do need insurance and want to shop on the new exchanges set up by Obamacare.
For about a week, I couldn't even create a login and password, the necessary first step for shopping. Then finally I could, but when I tried to log in, I received error messages; sometimes I even saw the dreaded twirly thing that just went 'round and 'round. When I tried to make a new account, that didn't work either.
I called the Healthcare.gov 1-800-number for help, and the representatives said the site was very busy. They suggested I try at off-peak hours, such as early in the morning or late at night. Following their advice, I made attempts at 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Still no luck.
Apparently those hours weren't off-peak enough, so on Saturday night I kissed my husband and daughters good night and set my alarm for 3 a.m. for a date with Healthcare.gov.
But in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I was to meet with only more disappointment.
"The system is down at the moment," read the message on the screen. "We're currently making system improvements. Please try again later."
October 1 was supposed to be the big day -- the day they could finally buy a policy without worrying about denials for pre-existing conditions or sky-high premiums that only millionaires could afford. But when the big day rolled around, after years of waiting, for many, their hopes were dashed as they couldn't enroll on the site. Their frustration practically jumps off the pages of the government's Healthcare.gov Facebook page, where they've lodged their complaints.
The Obama administration ascribes the trouble to "glitches" due to high traffic on the site. The president compared it to a glitch with Apple's recently launched iOS 7.
But Apple's glitch was fixed quickly and, even more importantly, was never a big deal in the first place -- the operating system was functional even with the glitch. Healthcare.gov's glitches, on the other hand, are so overwhelming that Ezra Klein of The Washington Post's Wonkblog has deemed it a "failure," at least so far.
"Not 'troubled.' Not 'glitchy.' A failure," Klein wrote.
'Cumbersome' system still has 'glitches'
There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. The government continues to work on the site, and Monday morning, I finally tasted some victory. Three times, I tried to log in and failed. Twice I tried to create new accounts but couldn't. The third time, however, I was successful.
I managed to log in and proceed with an application. I shouldn't have had to create a new account, of course, and the site is still spotty -- I couldn't log back in Monday afternoon, and then I could log in Tuesday -- but at least it's a start. We've been hearing from others, too, that the site seems to be getting better.
What we don't know is how long it will take to fix the major problems with Healthcare.gov. People who want insurance by January 1 need to sign up by December 15. Will the site be fully functioning by then?
I'll be going back to Healthcare.gov every day to see how it's doing. I hope to get no more error messages, no advice to try again later, and goodness knows, no twirly things.
Which leads one to question: aside from the merits of the program (or drawbacks); it's scary to think that you could be in dire need of benefits but still be at loggerheads as to how to sign up. Isn't that just like the government to put in place something that's supposed to benefit millions, and not have even the simplest details worked out (if indeed they are simple!)
Perhaps you're like the scores who’ve made the valiant effort but haven’t gotten anywhere.
If so, how's that working out for you so far - again, aside from the merits of the program itself (cost, availability of doctors, coverage, etc.)
Have you tried to sign up for benefits under the Affordable Care Act and had any difficulty doing so?