Paperwork. I'm sure there's nothing more frustrating to a government entity than sifting through paperwork. Unfortunately, when you require documentation for things, you must have a process in place to successfully manage the mountain of paperwork that you require. Makes logical sense, right? Not in the case of healthcare.gov.
I've written about Obamacare before. A couple of years ago, when the healthcare.gov site was being launched, I decided to test it out. Not only could I not get into the system, once I did, I couldn't get any accurate quotes. Since we weren't eligible for a subsidy, I called an insurance company directly to enroll in a plan.
This year, we are eligible for a subsidy but once again, I didn't go through the government site. Why? I had a bad experience the last time, so I called a friend in the business and had her sign us up. Seemed so much easier and to me it left little room for error in picking the plan, estimating costs and trying to figure out how to limit our exposure this year since we have a chronically ill teenager. Signing up was easy, however providing the documentation to keep the subsidy isn't.
A couple of days ago, I got a call stating that our documentation didn't match and I needed to log onto the system to see what I needed to do. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to log on. See, I attempted to submit the paperwork that the government asked for via my broker's website, but it took so long to upload, I decided to just follow the information on the original letter I was sent and send it snail mail. Since it was getting close to the deadline, I even paid $17 to overnight it to make sure it would get there in time. I never used the healthcare.gov site so I didn't have a username and password attached to this health insurance policy. Even so, I tried to put in my email address and hit “forgot password” to see if I'd get a re-set email. I didn't, so I decided to call them per the instructions on the site.
After a 30 minute wait, I finally got someone on the phone. I explained my situation in detail, thinking it would be easy to get instructions to get into the site and figure out what the government needed. It wasn't. Easy and government= oxymoron.
“You have two applications in the system,” the guy said.
“Um, I only have one live health insurance policy. Can we look at whatever application is attached to that?” I responded.
“Sure. Hold on a minute.” LONG PAUSE. “You need to provide documentation to keep your subsidy. There isn't any in here,” he said.
I explained that I had sent it in the mail overnight before the deadline to make sure it got there. I even started frantically searching my desk to find the confirmation. I could feel my heart start racing and I was sweating.
“Well, if you sent it that way, it hasn't been matched to your application. Let's hope they do it before you lose your subsidy,” he said.
I was more than a little dumbfounded. I followed the directions on the government's paperwork. I met the deadline and this dude was telling me to hope that the government matches my paperwork BEFORE I LOSE MY SUBSIDY? Not good enough.
“You realize that I need to keep the subsidy, right? Can you just tell me how to log into the system and I can submit the same paperwork electronically?” I said.
“Yes, most people need to keep their subsidy,” he said.
Once he said that, I realized that I may not be dealing with the brightest crayon in the box. That being said, I needed to make sure that I got the right information. It meant saving $500 a month that we really didn't have.
“Are we on a recorded line?” I asked.
Once he confirmed that we were, I took control of the call. Asked him for the username (which must have been set by the broker because I wouldn't have used it) and to give me instructions on how to get into the site so I could upload the paperwork I sent. He gave me detailed instructions on how to create a new password and told me to look for two emails. If they weren't there in two hours, check my spam.
It's 17 hours later and the emails still haven't arrived.
I tried this morning to input the username and hit “forgot password” again to see if that worked. It didn't. I even tried the username in all lowercase letters to see if that would work. It didn't. I still can't get an email from them to start the process to submit the paperwork. Now, I get to call. Again.
Wish me luck…