Sentinel Stories: Dealing with HealthCare.gov Representatives, “Come on guys! This is elementary web design!”
Andrew Fuller is a self-employed Virginia resident who has been purchasing a health insurance plan from the individual market for himself, his wife and three children for more than a decade. He currently has a core share policy with a monthly premium of $417 per month from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. It has a $1,500 deductible per individual with $10,000 maximum out of pocket expenses.
But Obamacare came along, and now all of that has to change.
In July of 2013, Anthem informed Andrew his policy would not be renewable on the renewal date of February 1, 2014, but that after October 1, he would be able to find out which policies were available to him. On August 6, 2013, Andrew created an account on HealthCare.gov so he would be prepared to apply for coverage under Obamacare.
He has now learned that his 2014 premium for an Affordable Care Act compliant policy from Anthem Blue Cross will be $1,310.38 for a Silver Policy comparable to his existing policy. The plan has a $1,500 deductible per individual and an $11,000 maximum for out-of-pocket expenses. The only additional benefit on the policy is pediatric dental care to make it compliant with Obamacare.
The problem is Andrew has been unable to log back onto his account since the Obamacare open enrollment period was supposed to begin.
The HealthCare.gov representative not only failed to walk him through the process of purchasing a plan, but they also failed to get back to him within 48 hours of when he first reached out for assistance as they promised.
The following is an excerpt from a letter he sent to his Senators, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
This 2014 policy represents an increase of 214% over my 2013 health insurance costs. Having looked back at past year’s records I see it also represents an increase of 94% over the average annual amount I have spent on healthcare policy premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for the past decade and a 25% increase over the most expensive health-care year we have experienced.
I am just wanting to make the point that for our family, the Affordable Healthcare Act is NOT producing Affordable Healthcare!
Below is Andrew’s frustrating dialogue with a HealthCare.gov representative:
October 23, 2013
[10:14:50 am]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.
[10:14:55 am]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[10:15:01 am]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.
Thanks for contacting us. My name is Brianna. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.
[10:15:07 am]: Brianna
Welcome to the Health Insurance Marketplace call center. How may I assist you today?
[10:15:43 am]: Andrew
First of all I want to state that your chat box states: “Chat with someone who can help” So far after three weeks of trying, I have not been able to get help! I am lacking confidence. But I will share my most recent story!
[10:17:01 am]: Andrew
Again I could not log in using my details. (an account that I created on August 6th and received an e-mail saying I had successfully created my marketplace account).
I went through a routine that I have previously gone through several times with the same results.
Firstly I enter my log in details. I press enter and immediately get returned to a blank log in screen.
Second I enter my log in details with a mistake in the user name. I get the message:
The information you entered isn’t valid. Review this information. If you’re having trouble, call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.
Third I enter my log in details with a mistake in the password. I get the same message as at Second.
Fourth I click on “Forgot User Name”. I am instructed to enter my name and my e-mail address and then told:
Check your email!
We sent an email to the email address associated with your account with instructions on how to get your username.
However I do not receive an e-mail! (and there is no e-mail in my SPAM folder either)
Fifth I click on “Forgot Password”. I am instructed to enter my user name (but no e-mail address) and told “We sent an email to the email address associated with your account with instructions on how to reset your password”.
I get an e-mail which gives me a link to click on so that I can enter my three security question answers to be able to reset my password.
I enter my answers just as I created them and I get to a page which allows me to reset my password. I click continue and get the message:
We weren’t able to process your request because we couldn’t find a Marketplace profile that matched the information that you provided.
Followed by: You answered one or more of your security questions incorrectly.
If I answered one of my security questions incorrectly how should I be able to get to a password reset page?
Come on guys! This is elementary web design! I have dozens of online accounts with usernames, passwords and security
[10:17:02 am]: ‘Brianna’ has left the chat session.
[10:17:06 am]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[10:17:52 am]: Andrew
What I need is an e-mail address of telephone number of someone with the technical capacity to fix my account details so that I can log on to the system
[10:20:32 am]: William
Thank you for your question today. It will take me just a moment to review and respond to your question.
[10:20:47 am]: Andrew
[10:23:17 am]: William
We have heard success stories of consumers changing browsers or going to different computers and being able to proceed. I will give you more information momentarily.
[10:24:40 am]: William
Due to the nature of your question, I am going to refer your issue to an Advanced Resolution Center specialist, who will research it and call you back within two business days.
[10:25:05 am]: Andrew
[10:26:05 am]: Andrew
I have used both IE and Google Chrome. I have disabled and reenabled cookies multiple times and get the same response. But really – A website of this gravity should work on any browser with whatever settings a customer has!
[10:26:52 am]: William
You are welcome, I will need your first name, last name, telephone number, and the best time to reach you.
[10:28:03 am]: Andrew
Andrew Fuller [phone number redacted] best time is evenings EST (Virginia) – Thank you
[10:28:19 am]: William
If you can stay on chat a few minutes, I will let you know when your request has been successfully submitted.
[10:30:03 am]: Andrew
[10:30:35 am]: William
Your welcome, sorry for the frustration and inconvenience. I will be back when I submit your request.
[10:36:01 am]: William
The Advanced Resolution Center has received your request and is currently processing it. You will receive a response within two business days from the date of your initial request. Please call back after this time if you have not received a response.
[10:36:36 am]: William
Do you have any other questions that I can help you with?
[10:37:17 am]: Andrew
[10:39:15 am]: ‘William’ has left the chat session.
As of October 29 at 3:30 PM, Andrew had heard nothing from a HealthCare.gov representative — much more than the 48 hour estimate he’d been given. Broken promises have been a theme of President Obama’s term in office, and apparently, HealthCare.gov is following suit.
The website is the least of the Administration’s problems. Obamacare cannot be fixed, and it has been consistently opposed by most Americans.