Sat 12 Oct 2013 @ 05:35 PM

←Home Experience: Update 1

After being unable to verify my account yesterday due to the site being down, I tried again at about 3pm on 12 Oct. It took several minutes for the website to finally tell me that I waited too long between applying for coverage and verifying the account via the email I received. I tried to verify it in a timely fashion, but the website was down! It instructed me to go back to the beginning and do it all over again. Note that it was less than 24 hours between my initial application and being told I took too long. Given all the problems that have been reported with the website, it is no wonder so many people are frustrated by the experience!

A few minutes later I decided to try verification from a different computer (both running the Chrome browser, by the way) before redoing everything. This time it worked. {sigh}

Before I can see what options are available for my family, it is not enough to create and verify an account. I also have to go through the "application" process. I'm concerned that if I start this process I'll be in trouble if I don't finish it to the end with a final application, so I give their support number a call. You've probably heard about that number, the one that amusingly partially includes "eff you" in one spelled out form. I quickly get through and ask if I'll be in trouble if I don't finish the process and am assured that will not be a problem. So I continue!

Accept privacy policy: check.

Provide contact information: check.

Confirm I'm performing the process myself, not using assistance: check.

Confirm for whom I'm applying for coverage: check.

Confirm I don't qualify for a subsidy: check.

Lots of questions about each individual family member, re-asking questions that I've answered previously in the process: check.

At one point the site asks me to confirm the relationship between my son and my wife. The drop down box says "spouse" (even though I previously have stated the proper relationship). Unfortunately, the drop down is disabled and does not allow me to change the relationship. I go ahead and accept the answer since I can't continue otherwise, and hope the correctly entered information from earlier will be used.

After a few more relatively problem free screens, I am asked to review all the information. At one point it confirms my wife is my spouse and my son is my son. Later on it wants me to confirm the individual relationship: My wife and I are spouses, my son and I are father and son, and my wife and son are also spouses. At this point I consider inserting some sort of Utah polygamy joke (which is not legal, even in Utah, and would not apply here, as a woman with two husbands would be polyandry) but I will resist. Fortunately, each relationship has an edit button so I can try to change it. Great! I click on one of them and get the same screen I referenced above, but this time the drop down is enabled so I change the relationship from spouse to stepchild. I review the information again and it is not changed, though if I edit it again it remembers stepchild. I can't continue unless I click save and continue, so I do and hope it will all work out later.

At the end there are more confirmations that I'm doing everything legally and accurately, then it wants my electronic signature. I decide to use as my e-signature my name followed by the disclaimer "signing despite some information being inaccurate but being unable to edit due to website flaws". It accepts that as my e-signature. It continues and I now get to review my eligibility status. A PDF file is downloaded to my computer and seems to indicate everything is okay. No polyandrous or incestuous relationship is indicated in the text, so that's good. Information about tax credits indicates we'll not be eligible. Boo!

Oh, goody! I can register to vote via the site! I'm sure that is just for convenience and not an effort to recruit even more voters in favor of cheap or free health insurance.

Oops, more questions before I can see options. No tobacco usage: check.

Note that I also have an older son that does not live at home. I'm sure he'd qualify to be included on my plan, but given that this is an academic exercise I don't bother.

Finally I'm given something I can compare. Four columns of classifications of plans available: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. They cover percentages of the national or other geographic area average health care costs: 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% for each classification. Insurance premiums are generally lower for plans that cover less as you would expect.

Here is a problem: It shows me the high and low premium amounts after taking into consideration tax credits. I'm not eligible for tax credits, but I know that based on family size and income. They've never asked me for my income so I don't know if they're estimating no tax credit or the maximum or something in between. Another call to the help line is in order to find out what the tax credit amount is so I can figure out my real premium rates.

The rep doesn't know how to determine this. While searching for more information, I try clicking some help links to see if I can find more information myself. The first link leads to a page that does not exist! Useful!

Together he and I poke through the settings and guess that the plans I'm viewing probably do not include any cost sharing. He hedges by saying I'd want to confirm that with the company offering the plan but for now I'll assume this is accurate information based on no cost sharing.

I have access to 11 bronze plans, 10 silver, 6 gold, and 1 platinum. To analyze these I want to create a spreadsheet which I think will be more useful format for analysis.

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