It would take you about 6.8 seconds of knowing me to find that I believe in conservative financial principles. Not that I wear a t-shirt around exclaiming that or anything, but in the articles I write I always encourage solid, tried and true, financial advice.
When it comes to Obamacare, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, my viewpoint is pretty obvious. But today I’m taking a neutral stance. There have been plenty of arguments made over the past few weeks for both sides. One of my favorites is where Dave Ramsey says you can’t forget to do math just because socialized healthcare is a good moral idea.
I’m not going to make an argument for either side. Instead I’m just going to share with you my personal experience when I visited healthcare.gov.
Now, a few disclaimers: I grew up blowing on the inside of a Nintendo game cartridge when the game froze on screen. I remember when you had to have a valid college email address to join Facebook. My first blog was written on Xanga. I’m definitely no computer programmer, but I know my way around technology and the internet pretty well. Also, I already have health insurance. I just wanted to see if Obamacare would be cheaper.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March of 2010. The government has had 3 years to get healthcare.gov built and to run through all the possible bugs to make sure that the launch on October 1, 2013 was successful. Here was my experience.
I first tried to login to healthcare.gov on Friday October 4 in the evening and this is what I came to when I tried to fill out an application:
I certainly understand scheduled maintenance on the backend of a website. For security, I’m glad that it’s done. But 3 days after the site is launched and during prime time? It wasn’t like I was on at 3:00am. I was on at 10:00pm on a Friday night.
The next morning I woke up to try again and this is what I found:
I’m sure healthcare.gov was just overloaded from the system maintenance from the night before. I tried several more times on Saturday the 5th with these same results, so I decided to give up for a while.
On October 17, I was able to logon to the site and create a username and password. It looked like I was finally going to be able to get on the site. I began answering questions about me, my family, our income, etc. but then I noticed some interesting questions.
Seriously? I don’t even have to file? I understand not having to pay taxes to be eligible. Lets face it, 46% of Americans already don’t pay taxes, so that wouldn’t have been a big surprise. But the idea that I don’t even need to file a return… interesting.
Good to know. I know we’re a country made of immigrants. I get it. But in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s, immigrants stood in line for days on Ellis Island waiting to be signed in and then worked their tails off to become US citizens. I would want to cross an ocean or river too if it was this easy.
Here is one of the questions that really bothers me though:
It’s not even so much about the question. I don’t necessarily have an opposition to them syncing my tax return info with my healthcare. I mean after all, it is the IRS’s job to enforce the tax penalties from Obamacare. But the part in red, below the question, “Important If you don’t attest to this item, it may impact your eligibility.” If I don’t allow them to pull my tax return info for the next 5 years, it will impact my ability to get health insurance.
After I answered all the questions I got to this screen to let me know my results were ready.
I clicked on the link and the site immediately started to download a PDF file with my results.
Apparently my brand new MacBook Pro isn’t high tech enough to open up this file. With some adjustment of the settings I was finally able to open my eligibility results.
AND…. guess what… nothing. The eligibility results say absolutely nothing. They give next steps, but I still don’t know how much the Healthcare Marketplace insurance is.
That was my experience. I’m sure others have had a different experience on healthcare.gov, but based on the other articles I’ve read probably not. If you had that experience on Amazon or eBay or on some other website, chances are you’d never visit the site again.
Unfortunately if you don’t have health insurance, you don’t have a choice.
If you don’t have health insurance you have until January 15, 2014 to get registered and enrolled through the government healthcare program or you’ll have to start paying the tax fines that the IRS will impose starting in February 2014.
Social Security – HUGE SUCCESS! Medicare – HUGE SUCCESS! Congress never shutting down – HUGE SUCCESS! I’m glad to see the Affordable Care Act living up to it’s family of socialized America so well already.