I was until, as promised, I dove into the world famous "HealthCare.Gov" website to try and set up my healthcare account and find out if this program really is everything that Mr. Barrack Obama promised and then some.
Well, what do you think?
Any guesses on how everything went?
Let me tell you right up front that over the past few days researching the nuts and bolts of the PPACA I was beginning to "soften up" to a point where I though maybe, just maybe, this program might have some possibilities of actually being beneficial to the general public (including us wonderful hardworking 50+ souls) and even offering some slight advantages over our existing healthcare options.
I actually hoped (in a small but devious way) that at least the technical aspects of the program (website, phone assistance, navigational system, etc. ) would perform in a professional manner.
Well, my parents taught me at an early age that if you never get your hopes up too high you will never be totally disappointed in how things turn out.
Sage advice from my parents I must say !!!
The site looks professional and has a clean and "personal" (remember, that's how the government brochures have been describing the website from the beginning - "personal") look about it.
The first thing I did was scroll to the bottom (that's the researcher in me coming out) to see who was hosting the site.
Lo and behold this website is proudly declared to be a Federal Government website managed by the U.S Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore, MD.
Looks impressive so far.
Could these folks screw up a website too bad?
I started, like any red blooded U.S. citizen would, by setting up my own personal account.
I am excited because in a few minutes I will be somebody in the eyes (if not server files) of the U.S. government.
I guess you need to remember that I am a completely apolitical person who has never voted, never held a political view and has never been even slightly interested in how our government runs or effects my life.
My thought........Why waste the energy?
I feel cleaner this way.
There is a big green button in the middle of the page with a pretty young (I would guess Hispanic girl smiling at me) and it says "APPLY NOW".
Hey baby, this is going to be easy.
I'm on board so I click through and page 2 and it says "Welcome to the Marketplace".
Blood is rushing to my fingertips.
The screen asks me to choose the state I live in.
Hey, I can answer that one too so I let Mr/Mrs Obamacare know I am from Arizona.
When I scroll down the page tells me exactly what I am going to do today and it completely matches the game plan that I had created for myself:
1. Create an Account
3. Pick A Plan
through the first set of basics I proceeded.
The whole time I am spying a "LIVE CHAT" button in the bottom right corner.
HHHMMMM....Help is available if I need it at a fingers tap.
Let's not get too ahead of ourselves here but I am feeling pretty damn confident about this whole damn "signing up" thing.
I set up my "Username" and "Password"
Or so I thought.
Shit, trouble already? Who would have fingered?
OK, I'm not the brightest candle on the cake but I read English very well and my 12 years of advanced "schoolin" at The University of Illinois has given me some pretty advanced skills on "ciphering" instructions and hidden meanings in our language.
OK, I have basic language skills but that's not the point here !!!
I actually was confused by the instructions in developing my "Username" and "Password".
Maybe I was over-thinking this whole process.
Let me toss it your way and let's see what you think..........
I decided it was easiest to use my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is between 6 and 74 characters long........Bingo!
It has lower case letters "or" capital letter........They are all lower case letters so, Bingo!
It has the "@" (and a .) to satisfy the requirement of a number "or" one of these symbols _.@/-..........Bingo one more time!
Well, guess what buckaroo it's not that easy.
It appears that the "or" really means "and" so I finally figured it out an settled on a completely different password with both lower case "and" capital letters and a number.
Luckily the "Password" instructions were very clear.
So I am on my way to set up 3 security questions and answers because as everyone knows, malicious keyloggers and sophisticated hackers are constantly trying to break into my healthcare information to find out when I had my last colonescopy.
Sorry for being facetious here but a tiny bit of aggravation has already set in. I know we need to be completely safe with our public information because I am sure that later on in this process we will be supplying our government our social security number, address and date of birth.
- Name of your oldest niece?
- A relatives phone number that is not your own?
- Nickname of your grandmother?
Again, I am a college educated man and I had a hard time choosing among the 12 options to use.
- What's my favorite cuisine?
How will someone from Appalachia answer that.....Ouch, that's wrong?
Oh, by the way, did I tell you that I started this whole escapade at 10:35AM.
Well, now it's already 10:45AM and I haven't even completed the basics yet.
So, what do you think happens next?
I should have known.
Well, I had two options now:
I could click on the ever-looming "LIVE CHAT" button in the lower corner or I could "man-up" and call the 1-800-318-2596 number I found by clicking on the "Contact Us" tab.
For you guys, I made the call.
Boy was that a mistake.
Follow me tomorrow and I'll give you the highlights (and low lights) of my call to the fine folks at the "Health Insurance Marketplace" in Virginia.
It was an experience I don't want to live through again and you surely don't want to miss tomorrow !!!
Thanks for joining me..........................................................