Shocker: Obamacare exchange websites fail to actually help Americans get their questions on the program answered

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, October 7, 2013

Even with the government shutdown making it more difficult than usual to access federal government websites, one Pennsylvania woman had quite the adventure trying to get information about coverage under the president’s Affordable Care Act.

According to Slate magazine, which first published the exchange, the woman is in need of new health insurance after her employer canceled her current plan on January 1. While she “is optimistic about the coverage she might get,” the fact that she tried contacting the state’s healthcare exchange at 8:00 am on Tuesday – when the program first went live – and was still unsuccessful in getting her questions answered after nearly a dozen additional attempts should give her pause.

Slate was able to reprint a slightly redacted version (i.e. with just her name altered) of her “Live Chat” attempt Sunday. Shockingly, the website not only restricted the amount of information she was able to enter, but recorded it incorrectly and wouldn’t let her change it.

[4:09:56 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.
[4:09:59 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:10:30 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:11:00 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:11:31 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:12:02 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:12:32 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:13:03 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:13:33 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:14:03 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:14:34 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:15:04 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:15:35 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:16:06 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:16:37 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:17:07 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:17:37 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:18:08 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:18:38 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:19:09 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:19:40 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:20:10 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:20:41 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:21:11 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:21:42 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:22:12 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:22:43 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:23:14 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:23:45 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:24:15 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:24:46 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:25:15 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:25:46 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:26:17 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:26:47 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:27:19 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:27:49 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:28:19 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:28:49 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:29:20 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:29:50 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.
[4:30:27 pm]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is PGSTX0534. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[4:30:51 pm]: PGSTX0534
Hello, how may I help you today?

[4:31:12 pm]: Alice
My information is not recording correctly in the summary of my application

[4:31:35 pm]: Alice
I have tried to edit it multiple times and it is still wrong

[4:32:21 pm]: PGSTX0534
Thanks for your interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace. We have a lot of visitors trying to use our website right now. That is causing some glitches for some people trying to create accounts or log in. Keep trying, and thanks for your patience. We’ll continue working to improve the site so you can get covered

[4:32:40 pm]: Alice
what does that mean?

[4:32:52 pm]: Alice
It says my application is “in Progress”

[4:33:12 pm]: Alice
Does that mean it is not completed and I can continue to try to edit it?

[4:33:55 pm]: Alice
Hello??

[4:34:14 pm]: PGSTX0534
Thank you. One moment please while I look that up.

[4:36:19 pm]: PGSTX0534
The only way we can see your application is you will have to call The Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

[4:36:47 pm]: Alice
What does the Chat Service do then?

She received no response to her last question.

She’s not the only one who’s struggled to get through to the healthcare exchanges’ customer service representatives, however. Last week, Twitchy reported that numerous websites belonging to the co-ops in charge of administering the healthcare exchanges in the 36 states participating in the program were down following the shutdown. Moreover, less than 1 percent of all applications for the exchanges made last week were considered to be complete enough to enroll the applicant in the plan, according to CNBC.

Naturally that hasn’t been enough to deter Democrats from admitting that there’s a problem with the system, instead encouraging them to claim that “multiple paid enrollments” and “373 applications for health insurance” in a day were successful benchmarks for the president’s signature policy initiative.

h/t Slate

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s