Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Conflicted

Hi everyone!

I look so serious, but really more thoughtful than anything.  I couldn't find a smiley that would really do this justice.  This will have to suffice.

Why does it have to be such a challenge to get health care?  

When President Obama presented the Affordable Care Act, it sounded like a wonderful idea.  I am in full agreement with the concept, especially with the health challenges that I face.  Unfortunately my health challenges makes being able to afford health coverage out-of-pocket near impossible.  Luckily, moves have been made for the insurance costs not to go sky high because of a pre-existing health condition. 

My concern is with the affordable.  The public wasn't told much about it, except for little things here and there.  This is where the President messed up.  People tend to fear the unknown, and if you don't inform them or give them the tools they need to educate themselves, some come to their own conclusions.

I attempted to sign up when it first came out.  The website couldn't handle all the requests.  After a few weeks, I was finally able to start my application.  Then, once I got to where they wanted income information, I received an error message.  This occurred for a full week straight.  When I contacted customer service, the person was of no help.  His only advice was to mail it in (even though it would take longer) or I could just wait for technology to iron itself out.  I asked him how much longer would it take to process.  He couldn't give me a definite answer.

I filled out the application and mailed it in.  For a few months, I didn't hear anything back.  By this time, 2014 had arrived.  I again reached out to customer service.  As it turns out, they didn't have an application in my name, yet the application never got returned to me.  Then, he advises me to just go on line and do it all over again.  He let me know the deadline had been extended so I wouldn't get hit with the tax penalty.

I took a deep breath and went on the website again.  I'm usually very patient but these hiccups with the website and my paper application being lost were weighing on that attribute.  Difficulty was still prevalent with my old application, so I decided to trash it and begin a brand new one.  This time, I waited until my husband and I got our W-2's so a more accurate figure could be presented.  

Then I was shown what plans were available in New Jersey.  My heart sank.  A few of them had deductibles as high as 8,000 and the regular doctor, specialist, and emergency room visits co-pays wouldn't kick in until the deductible was paid off.  Even after the proposed discount applied, quite a bunch of them were still out of range--with the exception of two of the plans.  

Since the button didn't appear to enroll, I clicked on the compare buttons to save my selections.  I wanted to select the two most affordable (although still not very appealing) options to him before making my final decision.  The website claimed the information would be saved for me to return to later.

Once we decided, I log into the website to pick up where I left off.  The website was busy but they had a place where I could insert my email address.  The site indicated it would send me an email when I could log in again.

Two days passed yet no email.  The email I used for sign up is connected to my phone so an alert would pop up if I had received anything.  I had already marked the address as "not spam".  I go back to the website and it's closed.  Deadline for enrollment has now passed.  Although my application says completed, I get informed that I may still have to pay the penalty because a plan along with payment hadn't been selected.  I click the links to give me an extension and it doesn't let me log in!

Along with

Livid isn't the word.  There are no words.  

The Affordable Care Act should not only be "affordable".  It should be easily "accessible" and "maneuverable".  Plus, why can't the customer service people be any additional help?   It's like they are reading from a script and cannot deviate from it whatsoever.  I'm sure I'm not the only one that has faced challenges of:

  • Failed log-in
  • Error messages
  • Unable to purchase a plan
...and so much more!  Surely there has to be a contingency script.

President Obama is on his way out but I expected so much more.  I'm not saying this health care initiative is a total loss but it's not feasible.  What about those people who are a little too rich to be considered "poor" by the government, yet too poor to be considered "rich" as it comes to living?  This makes no allowance for those who are in the cracks.  You have to either be truly middle classed or flat out dirt poor (so you can maybe get Medicaid).  I just expected it designed better.  Other countries that provide health care are doing something right.  What is America doing wrong?


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