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( I think ) I bought Obamacare

( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Old Dec 27th 2014, 1:20 am
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Default ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

I took a break from worrying about it for a bit then spent a whole week purchasing the cheapest platinum policy for my state. It's $420 a month minus $177 a month subsidy then $1500 out of pocket.

The government website has many problems still- if you are self-employed or have income from various sources or if your income varies year-to-year there's no efficient way to explain that.

I got a pdf email telling me to send in various documents electronically ( but there was nowhere working on the site to do so ) or to mail to the health and human services dept in Kentucky. I even telephoned for advice, that takes a couple of hours to get through and then the person has to keep going off the 'phone to find answers. One of the times I got cut off after about 90 minutes, so had to start all over, so expect it to be a long and frustrating day. I was prepared for it this time so didn't get upset or angry.

I could not check out the doctors or hospitals I was buying into- the government website links you to the insurance company website, and those websites were overloaded for days. In the end I decided this was the best policy re affordability and anything has got to be better than the nothing I have now.

I've received confirmation from the insurance company via email that I am covered but the documents the helpline advisor had me send to health and human services they sent a letter today saying they cannot process written supporting information...though as there is no email address to send them to healthcare.gov either I am not sure what that means? Conflicting information.

But I paid the first 2 months premium online as soon as the healthcare company website worked properly again ( they asked for 2 months up front, not 1 as previously stated ) and I am presuming that all these weird glitches will not affect the actual coverage...but right now there's nothing to be done about it anyway- the healthcare.gov website has been unable to be logged into for days and the helpline is backed up for hours.

I will call the health insurance company direct before I go in to the doctors if their information packet/ insurance card hasn't arrived by then. Again I'll pick a day when I don't have to do anything else as I expect it to take all day.

For me the most annoying thing about it all is there is no one to go to who can actually fix things or sort it out- the helpline people are very nice but it's too overwhelming for them and they don't seem to have any authority to make decisions or actually process anything, and I didn't see any of the 'clinics' which were signing people up at the libraries and town halls during the first enrollment. And as for a government department being unable to process a letter ( which they requested in the first place ) absolutely ridiculous. There are no forms to write proposed income, so a letter is the only way of conveying your estimate- I confirmed that with the helpline before I sent it.

So- as far as I can tell I have health insurance for 2015...
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 1:40 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Do you have health problems or otherwise expect to have $1,500 or more of claimable health expenses? ..... If you're young and/or healthy, keep an eye on how things pan out in 2015, and if you're health expenses are below $1,500 then you will know that you over-insured yourself, and could have paid a lot less. Instead you could have salted some money away in a Health Savings Account tax free, rather like a 401k. ..... Something to think about for 2016, perhaps.
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 1:45 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

No, I'm sick/ old now Pulaski so this is the best option for me this year; as you say might be different for the next.

I think knowing the process is crap, the website doesn't work, the health insurance company websites can't handle this volume of enquiry, and it takes hours to sort anything out is the best knowledge I can share about it- we are used to going online and buying things in a few minutes, and it's not like that. Allow loads of time and pick a day when patience is an option!
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 3:27 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

I don't know if you were trying to sign up a few days before the Dec 15th deadline for coverage starting January 1 but the load can increase 5x or more during that period of time as people try to hit the deadline.

Someone I know initially created an account earlier but a couple days before the deadline, he then logged in with the wrong password and after three tries, the system locked the account. He then tried to contact the help line to reset the account to allow him to login but got tired of waiting for someone to answer the phone and gave up.

About a week after the deadline passed, he logged in successfully with the correct password but now he at a prompt asking his marital status which is married but he has been separated from his wife for 2 years so he files separately and the system asks how he will file his taxes this year and when he entered "married filing separately", it indicated that he can't file that way so he gave up for now. He probably could now get the helpline pretty quickly now but knowing him, he'll probably wait until the next deadline occurs and won't be able to anyone to answer the helpline.
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

I was also supposed to provide documents to prove my income. I faxed mine to a number the Helpline told me. I think the fax number is also listed in your own online account page, but you've said you can't log in there now.

The Helpline person told me I could mail my documents but that that would take a long time to process. She recommended I fax them along with a cover letter detailing my full name, DOB, last four digits ONLY of Social Security number, and ID number (though again, that's in your account page, so unless you'd copied it previously, you won't have it). I have no fax, so had to go to a Staples office supply store, & it wasn't cheap. But my documentation was received, according to another call to the Helpline, so now it's all being "processed".......

I would call the Helpline now and ask what you should do. Call volume has probably dropped substantially & hopefully you won't have to wait so long on hold. I've made 4 calls to the Helpline so far (plus one visit to an actual "Navigator" who was fairly useless). Once I got through on the Helpline, I had all my many questions answered, and the mistakes on my details and application were corrected, and the person walked me through the rest of the application. At present I have "provisional" health coverage while my docs are processed, so that's a relief.

Here's my thread about my ACA experience, just in case it helps:

http://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-5...anyone-847317/

Last edited by WEBlue; Dec 27th 2014 at 6:06 pm.
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

I think the system is flawed and overwhelmed to be honest- the government website obviously cannot handle the number of enquiries, I've been unable to log in for days to healthcare.gov, and the linked health company websites didn't work most of the time during sign-up either. Making it impossible to really 'choose' a policy, and many of the 'apples to apples' comparisons on the government website which are supposed to make 'shopping' easier simply say 'data not available'.

I did save the pdf notification I was able to access in the 'message center' but someone needs to be notified that conflicting information/advice is being given out, and there's simply no one to inform.

Why send out an email saying 'log in to the message center to read your message'- makes more sense to simply send the info in the email if the website is already having trouble handling volume.

Even after signing up an email came every single day from the presumably separate publicity department saying 'take advantage of this opportunity and sign up today' etc. which I thought was sloppy and unprofessional. There seems to have been another huge national advertising campaign for it too, which I see as wasteful. Provide help centers where people can go and be properly helped, not trendy tv ads, with the funding.

The telephone helpline ladies were very pleasant and doing their best to advise but clearly there's a problem whenever anyone has circumstances which are different or unique, and if there's nowhere to report those problems I don't see how they can be noted or fixed.

When I got the 'welcome to United Healthcare' email and a link to pay I was only given the option of paying the first 2 months premium rather than 1, I imagine that might be an issue for some consumers who are struggling to afford the policies, and it needs to be communicated up front, as the policy is not valid it says until the first premium is paid- ie double what I was expecting. It also took three or four days to log in to pay- the health insurance company website was clearly overwhelmed- so I was glad I didn't leave it until the due date, thus creating another anxiety of whether coverage is valid.

A lot of places where the ball can be dropped so to speak...though I did get to choose a primary care doctor a couple of days after paying- before that the website yet again was overwhelmed and the links didn't work, I couldn't even see the list of doctors let alone select one. Apparently if I didn't select one the healthcare company does it for me based on zip code, but I can change it later.
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Old Dec 27th 2014, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post
I think the system is flawed and overwhelmed to be honest- the government website obviously cannot handle the number of enquiries, I've been unable to log in for days to healthcare.gov, and the linked health company websites didn't work most of the time during sign-up either. Making it impossible to really 'choose' a policy, and many of the 'apples to apples' comparisons on the government website which are supposed to make 'shopping' easier simply say 'data not available'.

I did save the pdf notification I was able to access in the 'message center' but someone needs to be notified that conflicting information/advice is being given out, and there's simply no one to inform.

Why send out an email saying 'log in to the message center to read your message'- makes more sense to simply send the info in the email if the website is already having trouble handling volume.

Even after signing up an email came every single day from the presumably separate publicity department saying 'take advantage of this opportunity and sign up today' etc. which I thought was sloppy and unprofessional. There seems to have been another huge national advertising campaign for it too, which I see as wasteful. Provide help centers where people can go and be properly helped, not trendy tv ads, with the funding.

The telephone helpline ladies were very pleasant and doing their best to advise but clearly there's a problem whenever anyone has circumstances which are different or unique, and if there's nowhere to report those problems I don't see how they can be noted or fixed.

When I got the 'welcome to United Healthcare' email and a link to pay I was only given the option of paying the first 2 months premium rather than 1, I imagine that might be an issue for some consumers who are struggling to afford the policies, and it needs to be communicated up front, as the policy is not valid it says until the first premium is paid- ie double what I was expecting. It also took three or four days to log in to pay- the health insurance company website was clearly overwhelmed- so I was glad I didn't leave it until the due date, thus creating another anxiety of whether coverage is valid.

A lot of places where the ball can be dropped so to speak...though I did get to choose a primary care doctor a couple of days after paying- before that the website yet again was overwhelmed and the links didn't work, I couldn't even see the list of doctors let alone select one. Apparently if I didn't select one the healthcare company does it for me based on zip code, but I can change it later.
The government is not developing the web site but instead a private company and they dropped the ball badly when it first came online. They promised a lot, collected a lot of money, and delivered very little. Which ever company that is developing the project doesn't appear to have the brightest people working on the project. I suspect that they created a rough proposal that really couldn't work correctly and want millions of dollars per problem on top of what they are already being paid that they designed into the system to enhance the application so that it is useable.

The create account may seem complex with passwords that are super strong and a half dozen questions that they may ask you the answers to if you get to the help line but when the application was introduced, hackers got into the front end (not the backend where the data is stored) and the republicans had a field day about how unsecure the application was.

I don't know if they normally have enough helpline people answering the calls but if there are 5,000 and normally you can be connected within about 15 minutes, you don't want to hire 15,000 employees to handle all the calls when the deadline occurs and sit around doing nothing the rest of the time.

As far as the advertisements, the government is trying to get people to sign up early so they can get reasonable service in case there are bugs or lack of understanding and there will be enough time to resolve the issues. Also some people don't even know about ACA even though it's been in the news for about 4 years.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 3:37 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post
I think the system is flawed and overwhelmed to be honest- the government website obviously cannot handle the number of enquiries, I've been unable to log in for days to healthcare.gov, and the linked health company websites didn't work most of the time during sign-up either. Making it impossible to really 'choose' a policy, and many of the 'apples to apples' comparisons on the government website which are supposed to make 'shopping' easier simply say 'data not available'.

I did save the pdf notification I was able to access in the 'message center' but someone needs to be notified that conflicting information/advice is being given out, and there's simply no one to inform.

Why send out an email saying 'log in to the message center to read your message'- makes more sense to simply send the info in the email if the website is already having trouble handling volume.

Even after signing up an email came every single day from the presumably separate publicity department saying 'take advantage of this opportunity and sign up today' etc. which I thought was sloppy and unprofessional. There seems to have been another huge national advertising campaign for it too, which I see as wasteful. Provide help centers where people can go and be properly helped, not trendy tv ads, with the funding.

The telephone helpline ladies were very pleasant and doing their best to advise but clearly there's a problem whenever anyone has circumstances which are different or unique, and if there's nowhere to report those problems I don't see how they can be noted or fixed.

When I got the 'welcome to United Healthcare' email and a link to pay I was only given the option of paying the first 2 months premium rather than 1, I imagine that might be an issue for some consumers who are struggling to afford the policies, and it needs to be communicated up front, as the policy is not valid it says until the first premium is paid- ie double what I was expecting. It also took three or four days to log in to pay- the health insurance company website was clearly overwhelmed- so I was glad I didn't leave it until the due date, thus creating another anxiety of whether coverage is valid.

A lot of places where the ball can be dropped so to speak...though I did get to choose a primary care doctor a couple of days after paying- before that the website yet again was overwhelmed and the links didn't work, I couldn't even see the list of doctors let alone select one. Apparently if I didn't select one the healthcare company does it for me based on zip code, but I can change it later.
I explained in the other thread that we didn't finish the Obama care enrollment as it wouldn't accept my daughters signature. She was the enrollee. As we didn't qualify for any assistance I directly signed her up with an insurance company.

However a few days later she got a letter from the dept of Health and Human Services welcoming her to Medicaid. An envelope stuffed full of well meaning advice about a nurse hotline and La Leche League and places where she can find support.

So she called the Dept of Health and Human Services on Dec 24th and was told to leave a voicemail on someone's line. Which she did saying she felt that she got this letter in error.

December 26th and she has a Medicaid card. With what looks to be an authentic Medicaid number.

No, we did not at any time go near the Medicaid site before anyone asks.

Last edited by Mrs Danvers; Dec 28th 2014 at 3:39 am.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:07 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

In Colorado you have to go through it to get O care.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:13 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Which would make sense if we had o care. .
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:15 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
In Colorado you have to go through it to get O care.
Can you provide a link indicating that to be true? From my understanding, anyone can go though a private insurance company during open enrolment if a subsidy is not going to be provided since all plans are ACA compliant.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:23 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

The Colorado web site.

Quite possibly, surprised if this was not the case.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:24 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

So does that invalidate your daughter's private policy which you purchased for her? I'll take a look at your thread later.

Texas hasn't expanded Medicaid as yet, but it is an interesting situation for anyone to have something apparently imposed upon them based upon income, especially if the application was not finalized and someone somewhere implemented it without applicant's knowledge or consent...

Having filled out all this application for 2015 it does concern me that I will find myself automatically enrolled year on year- and having to jump through the same website glitches and bureaucratic hurdles to cancel if I don't need it etc.

The insurance companies will need to have very honorable ethics to work with people through all the errors and not simply use them to deny claims...and I can see how people's credit rating and payment history might be affected too, by being enrolled erroneously then not paying the premiums for example.

Let's hope the government and insurance companies are working to get the doctors' businesses quickly and adequately compensated or ACA subsidized patients will soon be like Medicaid patients- unable to find doctors willing to take them.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:34 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

No I don't think it invalidates anything. It's clearly a mistake. It seems silly that the Medicaid card came when it was calculated that she wouldn't get a subsidy and was unable to get the insurance through the Connect for Health website. The website wouldn't let her sign the application saying her name was different from the enrollee.

It sounds as if you have valid concerns and I think that the glitches should get easier as time goes by.
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Old Dec 28th 2014, 4:34 am
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Default Re: ( I think ) I bought Obamacare

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post

Let's hope the government and insurance companies are working to get the doctors' businesses quickly and adequately compensated or ACA subsidized patients will soon be like Medicaid patients- unable to find doctors willing to take them.
I think that may be the weirdest thing I have ever read on BE.
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