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‘Please Wait’: New-and-Improved HealthCare.gov Has Same Old Problems

The Obama administration says the site can now handle 50,000 unique visitors at a time, but it doesn’t appear able to keep up with the load.

After a glowing news conference yesterday citing “night and day” progress on HealthCare.gov, I decided to log in this morning and take the Web site for a test drive, as I’m sure many others are doing. Early reports had been promising. What I found was hardly encouraging — long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.

The load-time issues (sometimes more than a minute) reminded me of the problems users encountered in the very first days of the Web site, which handles health insurance enrollment for residents of 36 states. It also appears to contradict what Health and Human Services officials said had been fixed.

“Response times are under 1 second. Error rates are down well under 1%. And the system is stable, with uptimes exceeding 90%,” HHS bragged in a blog post yesterday.

Additionally, once I had completed and submitted my application and verified my identity, the site told me that I was missing information and had to review it again. Nothing was missing. Ultimately, I got an error message telling me to come back later.

The Obama administration says the site can now handle 50,000 unique visitors at one time and 800,000 over the course of a day. But on Day One of the new-and-improved site, it doesn’t appear able to keep up with the load. No wonder HHS is encouraging users to come back at off-peak hours.

Some screen shots of my experience are below.

Immediately I encountered delays:

The delays continued:

After completing my application and submitting it successfully, I was told information was missing and was asked to go back through it — with delays:

I finally hit a wall I could not jump over — the error message:

I began a live chat on the Web site. Here’s what I was told:

[11:32:03 am]:Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.

[11:32:06 am]:Please be patient while we're helping other people.

[11:32:11 am]:Welcome! You're now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Thanks for contacting us. My name is Kassie. To protect your privacy, please don't provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[11:32:15 am]:Charlie

Hi there. I have been trying to fill out my application and keep hitting a wall.

[11:32:32 am]:Kassie

Good morning Charlie

[11:32:40 am]:Kassie

I apologize for the inconvenience.

[11:32:45 am]:Charlie

I keep getting long delays on each page and finally successfully submitted my application, but then was told I was missing things.

[11:33:02 am]:Kassie

Where are you getting stuck at?

[11:33:07 am]:Charlie

When I went back through it, nothing was missing, but I got this error: Sorry, theres a problem with our system Please log out, then try again after 30 minutes. If you continue to get this message, call the Marketplace Call Center 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. You'll need the Application ID shown below. Application Id: 160747816

[11:33:39 am]:Kassie

Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

[11:34:07 am]:Charlie

Is there an overload today or is [it] on my end?

[11:34:25 am]:Kassie

Have you tried logging out and waiting the 30 minutes and then retrying?

[11:34:33 am]:Charlie

Not yet.

[11:34:55 am]:Kassie

We apologize for any technical difficulties you may be experiencing as you use HealthCare.gov. We know this can be frustrating, and we're working around the clock to improve HealthCare.gov and to make sure your experience with it is a positive one.

[11:35:27 am]:Charlie

I was just wondering if this is on my end. I read that the problems had been fixed and that the load times were much faster, but that hasn't been my experience today.

[11:35:30 am]:Kassie

Write down your application ID number so you have it.

[11:36:07 am]:Kassie

Nothing you did wrong, Charlie. You're fine.

[11:36:24 am]:Charlie

OK. Will try again later.

[11:36:30 am]:Kassie

Do you have any other questions that I can help you with?

[11:36:38 am]:Kassie

Thank you for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

[11:40:37 am]:Kassie

I apologize for the inconvenience.

[11:41:08 am]:Your chat session is over. Thanks for contacting us, and we hope we've answered your questions. Have a great day.

I went back 30 minutes later and I couldn’t even log on:

Perhaps aware that the site could crash again, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is encouraging users not to log on during peak hours.

Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from Ornstein’s “Healthy buzz” blog. Have you tried signing up for health care coverage through the new exchanges? Help us cover the Affordable Care Act by sharing your insurance story.

I had no luck either.  I am an uninsured laid off engineer with a household of five.  I could not afford COBRA insurance and I am very nervous due to lack of Health Insurance for the family which includes a child who requires frequent surgeries.  I cannot wait for Jan 1 when hopefully I can purchase reasonable price Health Insurance.  Since mid October, I have spent over 20 hours on the Healtcare.gov site trying to complete my application and enrollment.  First my application had duplicate family members, then it was locked, then I could not even login.  I had to start a new application which got locked as well.  I decided to be patient and wait for December 1.

On December 1, I was able to unlock my application by resetting my password.  But now I cannot submit it.  When I click on a Save and Continue and then a Green “Confirm” button, I get “Please Wait” message with a green revolving circle that would stay on my screen for hours until system will automatically log me out.  I have tried this step over 20 times without any luck so far.  Chat and phone support simply asked me to keep trying.  Phone support person recommended 10 AM ET when traffic is low but for me even that time was no different. 

This is very frustrating and I am extremely disappointed at the new and improved site.

Just A Thought

Dec. 2, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

Dear Rosie, I feel your pain. Please keep trying and good luck!

Here is a thought though…

You are an unemployed parent of 5 - one of whom requires surgeries… I would be hoping for the ACA success. Certainly before the ACA you would not be able to afford decent health care for your family. It is because of people in your situation that Democrats fought so hard for health care reform. Democrats couldn’t pass the most comprehensive and humane law - they were stuck passing a law with many problems. But I believe that law is better than what we had before - especially for people who find themselves in situations like what you describe.

I really wish we had single payer and everyone was covered. I don’t understand why your children should have to suffer because you can’t pay for decent health care. As a country, we should help those in need - not just those in need who can pay.

I believe the problems are due to the next generation Hal-9000 server. If you have any more problems, IT tech “Dave” will be happy to help

It’s about 1 AM ET.  Thinking this to be an off peak time, just tried again without any luck.  The sarcastic comments are not helping as I am not a Gimmeedat type person at all.  I have had a very successful career and have paid taxes for 25 years.  I am not affiliated with any political party either and vote for the person I like - not his/her party.  I am writing only to find a technical solution (for example try Firefox browser on an Apple computer or install a certain software update) to this problem and share it with as many people as I can so that they don’t have to waste their time like me.  There is no political reason !!!

Jill Monterey

Dec. 3, 2013, 3:15 a.m.

Rosie Sam,

Sorry, but elections have consequences. You had a choice in 2012 and you chose the bed that you’re now lying in. Your vote cost me and millions of others financial and medical security. It’s willful ignorance on your part to claim that politics has nothing to do with the predicament you have inflicted on yourself and millions of your fellow Americans.

The excuses this administration gives for the website failing are so 1996.  Reminds me of Windows95 and AOL, back in the day.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt on the website, the first time around.  I understand the sort of architecture involved and know that it’s not a “weekend hack,” no matter how many college kids you can find who can build a mock-up in an hour.

However, once you know the problems and commit to a time to fix it all, you have to be pretty stupid to fail.  Either don’t agree to the deadline or fix the darn thing.  And if you overlook both, then build in a fallback, like replacing error pages with “hey, we’re having some problems, but the telephone has been around since the 1880s and we’re pretty sure that’ll work.  And here’s a table of rates to expect, by state.”

This is where you start firing people.  Everybody who actually touched that software and didn’t give fair warning of failure should be out on the street.  Or, rather, maybe keep them employed somewhere they can’t hurt people.  I say that out of self-defense, since I don’t want to work with them.

Those of you who oppose this on the basis that poor people might be able to afford insurance, can you answer two questions to satisfy my curiousity?

1.  What about being forced to buy insurance sounds like a giveaway to you?
2.  How does wider availability of insurance impact your “financial and medical security,” as Jill puts it?

I mean, I think it’s a bad law, myself, but acknowledge that the prior situation was worse all around (there are now standards for insurance policies) and am mostly offended by needing to deal with a private company whose sole business model is taking more money from me than they’ll ever pay out.

But this fiction that someone like Romney (who…what was his signature legislation as governor, again?) would have done a much better job is getting a little stale.  Romney was a patsy, engineered to lose.  The only people in the party who honestly backed him (I have a few distant connections) were party fund-raisers, who were buddies with him in his hedge fund days.

I mean, why waste a real Republican candidate when you have a Democrat willing to expand the security state, sell the population out to the insurance industry and AMA, and expand the ill-advised wars against civilians that the Republicans already wanted to see?  Especially when you can use the ACA as an excuse to stall every other law (other than military expansion, where “gridlock” magically evaporates) and even shut down the government and jack up the debt, there was really no upside to a Romney win, Republican-wise.

I develop websites. I always highly recommend to my clients that they test their site before going live. Guess how many people want to pay for something like that? Zero. I usually spend at least a month in recovery mode after going live, just like you-know-who. It adds to the cost and everyone always complain, even though I tell them the site needs to be fully tested.

The internet is now a war zone, full of viruses, trojans, malicious spam bots, you name it. In case nobody has noticed, nothing works 100% of the time. If code can be written to break the internet and threaten personal security, some pimply faced hacker with a grudge and a big chip on the shoulder has written it.

Now it has become political. Voters with a grudge and a big chip on the shoulder now have something to rant about. Believe me, it goes far beyond one political party or another doing anything at all. As it turns out, we have combined two very broken things: the internet and health insurance. Who in the world would have expected anything less than a disaster?

It occurred to me recently that Intuit, a vendor with years of experience developing Turbo-Tax with our government might have been chosen to develop the healthcare.gov site. But then I realized that after all their experience, they probably didn’t want to.

socialized medicine won’t work in this country with the current system. we actually have a form of socialized medicine in the US as it is with the military healthcare system.I know because I am a healthcare provider in the military. This system works because the whole country 300 plus million people are paying for a small so far. However the country cannot afford to pay for the whole population health care costs. With free healthcare there’s so much waste and abuse by patients thatyou would be appalled by how much taxpayers dollars are wasted unnecessary health care for military personnel.the socialized medicine is not the answer.at least in the US with expectations the citizens have. This is what this was the best care and access to the best services available without paying for anything however that cannot happen you can’t have thatfor cake and eat it too.if you want to say well it works in Canada or England that’s fine but also know that you might have to wait a year for an MRI of the or not getting it to the ICU because you’re over the age of 65.you have to give and take

Kind of a bogus article, given how websites, load-balancing, and even clustering work…or don’t work, when a corporation screws the American taxpayer by screwing the government…like happened with Healthcare.gov.

“Your mileage may vary!” is the rule of thumb when hitting popular websites (ever play Pogo games?  Or Zinga via Facebook?).  You’re affected by not only whatever round-robin or whatever “Wait your turn!” algorithm is in effect at the destination, you are also affected by whatever delay is introduced by the internet itself…the routers and other physical hardware as well as their loading between you and the destination.  I.e., the low-risk door for individuals who don’t want the ACA to succeed is always open - if they know what shared intermediate websites and routers to overload.

While it may be convenient - if you have an agenda - to paint Healthcare.gov as a failure, the reality is the team that went in to clean up after CGI has done a remarkable job.

(What do I call fixing a system that is actively in use?  “In-flight missile repair”...lollll…it approximates rocket science; NASA has to do it all the time.)

Tom Halverson

Dec. 3, 2013, 6:34 p.m.

I can not understand why Obama is not publicly mad as hell!  Start firing people! Show SOME emotion!  This website is so embarrassing and frustrating for a major public program that I would be at least demanding some money back from the companies that ruined the President’s major policy.  If they try to cover over the obviously bad performance it just makes them look so inept or deceitful that it is worse.  This criticism is from someone who somehow got a really good policy in the middle of October.  I can’t believe how great a program Obamacare is:  I am one of the uninsurable people with preexisting conditions and I wasn’t even asked about my preexisting condition, got a very low deductible policy and got a lower premium than my current policy.  So when the system works, it is great, but this is just outrageous how poorly this website was handled.

uhh….

Charles Ornstein
You’ll need the Application ID shown below. Application Id: 160747816

To make

I.e., the low-risk door for individuals who don’t want the ACA to succeed is always open - if they know what shared intermediate websites and routers to overload.

clearer, read instead

I.e., the low-risk door for individuals who don’t want the ACA to succeed is always open - if they know what websites to load in order to overload routers and communications lines shared with Healthcare.gov.

(Do I care if “the government” now starts checking for such DOS attacks?  Nope…I want such people…such entities…such anti-democracy forces…caught; Citizens United handicaps democracy more than enough.)

Please wait ... we’re having a problem with our system ... sounds like the old “if you’re Black you gotta be 10X better than everyone else” tax. Those are the same problems you can expect with nearly every newly optimized website on the planet ... if that’s all the problem is, Microsoft should have been out of business 20 years ago, LOL! ***stoop***

I have a SECRET.

Use the TELEPHONE and the good old US POST OFFICE. Forget we still have that?

Whew!!!

@S HART re ***stoop***: 

ProPublica seems to be mercifully short on O/S and hardware fanboyz - albeit it does have its fair share of those who gloat when something they don’t like is less than 100% successful…

Regardless of the probability that the casualties will be human rather than hardware or software.

Diane Lindgren

Dec. 3, 2013, 7:16 p.m.

Pretty soon isn’t it time for a story on the successes in states with their own exchanges, e.g Washington, California, Kentucky. States with their own exchanges account for about 40% of the uninsured. Seems they’d warrant some interest/consideration.

Bruce J Fernandes

Dec. 3, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

What is shocking to me is how ObamaCare has become instantaneously a bifurcated, two-tiered health insurance system.  I thought major efforts would have been made to get insurers who participated in the state alliances to offer a better, more diverse provider mix.

The reality is the best children’s hospitals, teaching hospitals, research hospitals have opted out of state alliance plans.  I assume the insurers reimbursement rates were far too low to draw interest from these great providers of leading edge, most technologically advanced healthcare.

I am sure in 2014 we will start hearing stories from the newly insured who joined the healthcare alliances because of either the need for subsidies or have accepted the lure and seduction of subsidies that they cannot take their child who has become critically ill to the best children’s hospital for treatment.  Then the truth about state alliance insurance will come into full public view.  The ObamaCare website doesn’t navigate allowing people to get a full flavor of the participating providers in state alliance plans.

For people who purchase ACA-qualified plans outside the alliance.. you will generally find you have the same insurance before including the rich mix of providers.

Thus my conclusion there has immediately formed a bifurcated two-tiered system where people willing to pay up and refuse to be seduced into accepting subsidies will have more provider options than state alliance participants.

Democrats will cry out in horror about the unfairness and the rich getting higher quality healthcare options and therefore outcomes than the poor and middle class trapped in state alliances by the seduction or need for subsidies.

Furthermore, a little known fact about insurers in the state alliances.  If they also offer insurance outside the alliance they will have to community rate both insurances together thus blending rates.  That is why so many insurance companies have opted out of the alliances preferring to community rate for people willing to pay the full monty for their insurance.  In point of fact anyone who is with has purchased insurance outside the alliance with an insurer both in and out of the alliance will be screwed over on next year’s premiums because of this mandate of blending the community rating of the plans.

That is why I chose an insurer that does not want to be in the state alliance in my state.

As long as we maintain a two-tier system I really do not have any issue with people choosing to go into state alliances.  Maybe they need the subsidy or maybe they just want to take advantage of the subsidy.  Either way, it comes with a very heavy price to my way of thinking.  Fewer provider options.  No access to the very best children’s, teaching, and research facilities, fewer specialist options with no access to the best specialists.

Let’s see how long democrats are willing to accept that status quo before demanding the new system is just as unfair and the only way to make it fair is to make everyone equally miserable under a single payer system.

Socialism never lifts up the poor, it drags down the middle class and the rich always figure their way around the system.

COBRA costs represent the “real” cost of the insurance, based on the group plan which the employer selected. When I was laid off I selected COBRA because I believed it to be important to have health insurance, and I could afford it. Employer plans may subsidize as much as 80% of insurance cost, spread over the entire group of employees, as part of the employee benefits. The premium rates I have seen for Obamacare plans are considerably more than the COBRA monthly payment, with inferior coverage (significantly increased deductible, co-pays, and max out of pocket). I would gladly continue with COBRA, indefinitely, rather than Obanacare programs. I don’t understand why Obamacare doesn’t have premiums similar to employer plans, assuming the risk population is similar. Obamacare is supposed to offer the benefit of a large, diverse group, isn’t it? Or are the exchange groups self selecting to be old and in ill-health with increase risk? I think the emphasis on subsidies to try to fool the population about the cost of health insurance is dishonest. Everyone needs to recognize the real costs. Tort reform and non-negotiated payments to big pharma are not addressed as cost containment items in Obamacare, if I understand correctly.
I don’t think Oregon has signed anyone up on line yet, so I am not sure it would be considered a success.

12/3/13 10 AM ET: Tried again this morning at 10 EM and got the same old “Please Wait” message with a green revolving circle that would stay on my screen for hours until system will automatically log me out. BTW, I am in Pennsylvania.

12/3/13 8 PM ET: Tried again and got the same old “Please Wait” message with a green revolving circle.  Using Internet Explorer on a Windows 8 PC in Pennsylvania on a very strong broadband Wi/Fi connection.  I have used Google Chrome too but I had even more problems there.

Diane Lindgren

Dec. 3, 2013, 9:13 p.m.

Another story idea, why do Republicans despise ACA, could it be the political liability that it’s probable popularity will cause. And how about that any funding for public education was voted out of the bill? Need any more ideas?

@Diane Lindgren, who asked why do Republicans despise ACA

I think the Republicans - and that few whom the Republicans represent - want to make grey and white hair an indicator of wealth possessed.

Attempt No. 4 since Dec 2, 5 PM ET
12/4/13 12:30 AM (30 past midnight) ET: Tried again and got the same old “Please Wait” message with a green revolving circle.

The problem is that activists and progressives tackled a problem they did not understand.

It will not work unrelated to the site problems. It doesn’t work in Canada, England, and other countries with single payer plans. There is a very long wait for treatment in all these countries even when quick treatment is required for the malady such as cancer. There are not enough doctors and beds for those who need treatment once these plans are implemented.

Currently those without insurance get treatment at taxpayer expense. No one has mentioned that those taxes are still being collected. You will pay twice. Once in your increased insurance premium. Then again in local taxes to support hospitals.

The ban on previous conditions allows anyone to wait until they have a medical problem before signing up. That defeats the concept of insurance. Insureds contribute small incremental payments to money pools so that when they have medical problems they can rely on the combined pool for benefits. Those who wait until they have medical problems can tap the pool they had no participation in creating.

Republicans proposed laws that would have lowered costs first. Capping jury awards would have done that.  Slowly addressing treatment proving that each step works, rather than insurance is the answer.

Tom Conservative

Dec. 4, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

I’ve tried for a week now… On Apple’s Safari, Chrome and Firefox.  On PC’s Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox.  None work, they all give me the please wait green spinning arrow when I try to change my family groups.

They want to put the 5 people in my family into 4 groups.  That’s insane.  Why should my kids all have individual policies ?  So instead of paying a family out of pocket of 12 grand I can pay 18 grand at 6k a kid plus mine and my wife’s group policy cap…because of different policies ?  This also seems to contradict.. “It doesn’t matter how many policies you have,  your coverage will be the same… really ?

Maybe I’m not understanding it.  I’ve paid family insurance on my own for 20 plus years now.  I don’t see how this is helping me in any way at all.  It’s costing me a lot more with way less coverage.. it’s crippling my ability to be self employed. 

Watching the reports on the people in charge of this thing is even worse.  “We’re working on the glitch”  The glitch ?  Seriously ?  The glitch ?  That’s your explanation ?  And who hired you ?  They should be fired.  Is it the same people that hired the online help or the phone help for healthcare.gov ? I guess that would make sense.  I’ve never talked to or online chatted a bunch of more uneducated people in my life.. no wait, I take that back.. the IRS was about equal this experience.

@“L K TUCKER”, who said

There are not enough doctors and beds for those who need treatment once these plans are implemented.

Usually you guys aren’t so plain-spoken with your demand that the American people be segregated on the basis of wealth possessed and that their length and quality of life be adjusted accordingly.

Of course, that is politically dangerous when it is so apparent that the American right is also attempting to create yet more poor with tactics such inequitable free trade, wage suppression, and the private taxation that enforced oil addiction, the speculation in oil, and all forms of “profit” represent. 

That might indeed cause a “problem”, were the American people to seriously consider the fact that the Republicans and who they represent aren’t just trying to make health care unattainable to the poor - they’re simultaneously trying to make ever more of “the middle class” poor.  (Sometimes with all of the arrogance of dictators, as when Bain Capital turned the once-American company Sensata and all of its jobs over to the People’s Republic of China right smack in the middle of Romney’s run at the White House.)

That quote, again:

There are not enough doctors and beds for those who need treatment once these plans are implemented.

Last but by far not least, the reader has to admire the assumption contained within that statement…the same assumption that you see in one form or another from most of “the right”: the assumption that the medical market - the supply of doctors and hospital beds - is and will remain artificially constrained to increase “profits”/income…that is, the assumption that the laws of supply and demand have been successfully nullified by those who profit from health care in America.

Thus the right expects the practitioners of medicine to quite literally serve as unrestrained capitalism’s executioner - as if health care in America were every bit as crooked as Big Oil or Wall Street.

But come to think of it, no few “doctors” have shown up as Republican politicians over the last few decades….Bill Frist, the Pauls, etc., suggesting that hypocrisy may have slain Hippocrates while America wasn’t looking.

If only the Republicans in the House, including Ted “Joseph McCarthy” Cruz, would stop sabotaging the website!

I’ve heard that the Republicans have an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of computer keyboards to sabotage the healthcare.gov website functionality. Also, eventually one application will contain the entire works of Shakespeare.

Although I always suspect that I’m exposing myself to a certain amount of risk when I say anything negative about the existing health care system in America, a reader who wants to make decisions based upon facts might be interested in see where America falls on this chart of life expectancy from birth compiled by the Organization for Economic-Cooperation and Development.

http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/health-at-a-glance-2013/life-expectancy-at-birth-1970-and-2011-or-nearest-year_health_glance-2013-graph1-en#page1

The longest-lived are at the left…where the United States is not.  Seems that the “single-payer” systems do quite well, though.

Further, the reader might be interested in this additional OECD paper entitled Why Is Health Spending In The United States So High?

http://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/49084355.pdf

I find chart 4 to be particularly fascinating…it would appear that “hospital consolidation” (it is called “monopolization” in all other sectors) offers much to those seeking “profit”.

I dunno why the Republicans…and the Democrats…don’t make such information more readily available to the American people.  Maybe they likewise fear “a certain amount of risk”? 

(lolll…at least if they need the services of America’s health care system…“the best system in the world”, according to its evangelists…yet even “important” people, like Democratic Representatives, up and die from “complications of surgery”.)

the same people that used to say that we were different from the terrorists because we tried to protect innocent life. We spent billions, TSA , we surveil , nation build, go into wars of choice etc because we were so concerned about this.

Either they were lying, or there is something about not being able to afford health insurance, or eat that they believe makes you guilty of something, not worthy of American protection.

The only threat they are willing to say we’re all in this together and need government protection for is terrorism because they can’t buy their way out of that one. Also since they are culturally and politically militarized, the only way they want to support solve threats to innocent American life is by shooting first and politicizing later.

You have to give Obama and the democrat platform credit for being consistent about their desire to protect innocent human beings at least. They want to make sure that everyone of us isn’t a terrorist, (protecting us from ourselves, I suppose)  be able to afford health insurance and eat.

The website problem is the same ongoing Republican obstruction theme. President Obama and therefore America has some well funded and enemies.

You call this investigative journalism? I don’t. Not when there are so many really important stories that need to be covered.

The ACA site works great for most people now. So why are you wasting space complaining about a few niggling website glitches that are being fixed as you read this? I often experience commercial website glitches. So do most people. But they don’t get this kind of attention. This maniacal GOP narrative will continue even when the site works flawlessly. Americans expect instant perfection and so are always dissatisfied and complain about everything.

But think how much harder it would be to shop for health insurance the way it used to be.

First you’d have to visit lots of different web sites, compare lots of different companies and plans (if the sites even detail the plans, which many don’t). Then call around and talk to different agents about the different plans, then make appointments and drive around to the agencies to talk to the agents, then wade through all the slick brochures, fine print and asterisked exclusions to the various aspects of coverage. Then, when you decided on a plan, drive back to the agency and sign a contract.  (Think how long that would take and what a hassle it would be.)

Then, six months later, the company starts gradually downgrading your coverage (in the fine print at the bottom of your bills) until, before you realize it, you wind up with a junk policy that excludes so many things and raises your out-of-pocket so that when you do get sick you find out - too late - that you aren’t covered, or if you are, the caps have been lowered so that you end up going bankrupt anyway - even though you have insurance.

Maybe it’s time we all step back from this and put things in perspective. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it’s a huge improvement over what we had before, and is saving Americans serious money.

Bruce J Fernandes

Dec. 5, 2013, 12:40 a.m.

Hans,

You are without a clue.  You only save serious money because you are being seduced and sucked into an insurance subsidy system that will convert today’s ACA into tomorrow’s glorified Medicaid system.

For your serious money savings you get the privilege of purchasing insurance that will not allow you to go to the very best teaching, research, and children’s hospitals in the USA.  Most of these providers have been opted out of state exchanges because of their unwillingness to give healthcare away in the form of unacceptably low reimbursement rates.

What if you have a child with a serious medical condition and the best place to go is a children’s hospital NOT in your plan.  Oh well, guess that subsidy and the serious money you are saving will have to suffice in return for accepting less than the very best, up to date medical care for your child.

I took ACA approved outside an exchange.  I have access to the same best of breed medical providers.  I wish I didn’t know that based upon personal and family experience.  In fact I was told my plan added what is now considered one of the best brain trauma centers in the world to my plan.  I also found the addition of a network of cancer treatment and research centers that I have heard many good things about in the past.  I hope I never have to be in need of any of those medical services.

Hans you miss the entire point of what health insurance is supposed to be about…. getting the best medical care available under the worst of all circumstances.

Yeah you get lower price subsidized insurance but co-pays and deductibles in bronze plans will not be paid by all these newbies getting subsidized insurance.  You can bet we will start hearing the cry me a tear story when someone who refused to pay the $30 co-pay at point of service is sent away and something worse happens because they didn’t make the co-pay.  You act as though people have excess money around to pay co-pays, deductibles, etc. before they get first dollar coverage or did you not read bronze plan details of most plans requiring the payment in full of the entire deductible before first dollar coverage kicks in?

You don’t know all the details because the website is not allowing anyone to fully understand what is the new reality of exchange healthcare.  It is HMO healthcare on steroids.  Gatekeepers that will take longer to approve care and make sure that co-pays and deductibles are met before care is dispensed or authorized.  Insurance companies understand the exchange subsidy is bringing in people who put no value on healthcare in the past, never had it and will not meet co-pays and deductibles unless collected prior to providing the service.

The stories of 2014 will be about people in essence who thought they were getting free healthcare; all of us will find out what the real cost of free healthcare is…. Obama played all of you naïve liberals as fools and it will all come out.  The only question is whether Obama can hold back the torrent river before the NOV mid-terms.  I suspect he can’t and when the 2015 premium rate increases come to pass everyone will finally get why Pelosi and Reid passed this peace of socialist garbage in the dead of night and wouldn’t let anyone understand the ramifications until after it was passed.

At least to voters will have the last laugh in NOV 2014 if all these realities come to pass before the midterms.

As for people like me who value what we purchase and would never accept the seduction of government subsidies…. nothing really changes for us.  We get what we are willing to pay up for.  It is those that settle for government handouts that always get the short end of the stick.

Bruce J Fernandes

Dec. 5, 2013, 12:51 a.m.

Just got finished reading a WSJ article on the out of pocket drug costs for various plans.

The general rule now coming into focus is the lower your insurance premium the higher your out of pocket drug costs.

In other words, bronze plans with 40% co-pays will cause people to pay enormous amounts for certain drugs that under a non-exchange plan would cost no more than $80 in my Tier 4 drug benefit.

You don’t have to believe me because every day more and more new revelations will come out about what a piece of garbage ACA is going to turn out to be and in the end had we simply expanded Medicaid to the poor we would all be much better off.

Oh, Hans, approximately 1/3 of people signing up for ACA are Medicaid eligible anyway so they are being assigned to Medicaid with no costs but as the saying goes you get what you pay for and when you pay nothing your expectations shouldn’t be all that high.

Trying to say healthcare is not a business may be a liberal’s wet dream but then liberals don’t believe anyone should profit at anything.

We have to hope that regardless of the early damage done by ACA that we can somehow end up with a healthy two-tier system where people who are willing to pay up can get the best and those who want government subsidized health insurance…. well you know what they will settle for….. the rest.

Attempt No. 5 since Dec 2, 5 PM ET
12/4/13 11:55 PM ET: Tried again and got the same old “Please Wait” message with a green revolving circle.

“Bruce J Fernandes” tells the reader The general rule now coming into focus is the lower your insurance premium the higher your out of pocket drug costs.

lollll…wow, what a change…wow, wow, wow.

Now the right cares about what the American people have to pay for drugs?  Now, after so few years have passed since the Republican Congress of the Bush years wrote the Medicare Part D legislation to specifically forbid Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices and so saving the American people money?

lolllll…the hypocrisy of the right is…breathtaking.

The government fought World War II in less time than it’s taking to build a working Obamacare website. Obamacare accounts for more than 150 of the items on this list: Obama supporters will go hysterical over this well sourced list of 462 examples of his lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc.  http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/

Nicholas Urfe

Dec. 5, 2013, 8:53 a.m.

Rosie - start over with a new e-mail address.  Your old one was compromised by Version 1.0.

Tom Conservative

Dec. 5, 2013, 11:09 a.m.

I don’t know…

I had an agent for 14 years.. I never dealt with websites.  I had all my own doctors.. with this… I get none of them.  My kids pediatrician for the last 10 years isn’t available in any of the plans.  My doctor isn’t and none of the specialists we’ve had to use are.  I have to go to a different hospital.. one that is rated a 2 compared to the one I had that was a 10. 

I’m not saving money.. I’m paying way more.  I worked my ass off to get where I am and I came from nothing.  I learned a long time ago life isn’t fair and government interference is a joke.  I didn’t vote for this.. whoever did,  congratulations on saving all those people and ruining everything I worked for.. the economy.. my future…really.. thanks for that.

Lets take the wheel and make it an octagon, no better yet a hexagon, no wait, a pentagon.. yeah that’ll work and we’ll be rolling along faster than ever.

Why don’t we just make it a green spinning arrow and call it a day ?

“Health care is a business.”
War is big business, law enforcement is a business, surveillance, CIA, TSA is a business, campaigns are big business which I suppose is all under the umbrella of war.

The life and death, protect/violate question of innocence or guilt market is a lucrative one in America but its not always profitable to mention that other times it is.

“It’s a business” for the right wing means that they don’t believe that you can create profit and have peace, be ethical,  tell the truth all at the same time. Quite an advertisement for socialism, actually.

They also believe that if someone or something is having a problem in America don’t try to help or fix it or even hope for the best.They can only sneer and barely hide their joy that something isn’t working for this country or anyone in it that wouldn’t vote for a Republican.

Not much of a conversation you can have with that, not much hope for the future with those sentiments dominating communication space. :(

So to them, Merry Profit Season, may your uninsured servants sneeze a thousand times upon your unending efforts including your online shenanigans trying to make President Obama/America to fail.
Please stop punishing America for rejecting you.

Tom Conservative

Dec. 5, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

I’m sorry I don’t get how a no bid “earned” contract with your wife’s college classmate is ethical… really ? ... really ?

What kind of business gets “no bids” ? 
Who had the truth on that one ?

Healthcare is a business.. it’s a greedy corporate business, pretty much like every politician around no matter what party.

To think it’s specifically a right wing army that’s attacking the site to make it fail is insane.  It’s just not a quality product, built by an incompetent “no bid earned” entity. 

And now this morning we see it’s hacked with a low grade hack yet to boot.  Really ?  Considering the circumstances of where we’re at.. I’d like to see this thing work more than anyone.  But it’s a little hard to put out the fire when you built in the middle of a volcano.

lollll…hey, check out the so-called “conservatives” who are complaining because CGI - a corporation qualified by the Republican Bush Administration to provide technical services to the U.S government - has executives who attended Princeton.

What do you reckon they’re trying to say?  That Bush - who attended both Yale and Harvard - proved that the Republicans are corrupt if history can show that his Administration contained or appointed any other Harvard or Yale graduates - or if government contracts were given to any corporations that employ either Harvard or Yale graduates between 2001 and 2009?

Or maybe the so-called “conservatives” are thinking criminal prosecution…maybe they want to prosecute Cheney and Halliburton if Halliburton got any Federal contracts during the Republican Bush Administration - seeing as how Cheney was formerly the CEO of Halliburton.

Yep, seems like the so-called “conservatives” who are trying to invent stories of cronyism and worse around the healthcare.gov website should be just about ready to go nuclear on the Republicans in general and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, & PNAC, LLP in particular since…and this is real history…to quote the International Business Times from their story entitled And The Winner For The Most Iraq War Contracts Is . . . KBR, With $39.5 Billion In A Decade at:

http://www.ibtimes.com/winner-most-iraq-war-contracts-kbr-395-billion-decade-1135905

Begin quote:

Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.

Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.

The No. 1 recipient? Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.

The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.

End quote.

Yeah, if the so-called “conservatives” who are trying to write a script for slandering this Administration and screwing so very many of the American people out of both their health and their lives have any honest bones at all, they must be just about ready to start prosecuting Bush and the Republicans.

After 5 and counting years, certainly the so-called “conservatives” have found or borrowed some ethics…some morality…

Or maybe their continual efforts to gin up scandals demonstrates that they’re beyond redemption…whether in this world, or the next.

In case somebody thinks they can pounce on that 2010 date, they need to read the Houston Chronicle story at

http://www.chron.com/business/article/KBR-gets-no-bid-contract-to-support-Army-in-Iraq-1702336.php

the pertinent part of which is

KBR will continue to provide services such as housing, meals, laundry, showers, water purification and bathroom cleaning under the new order, which was placed under a military contract KBR won in late 2001, shortly after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

The Army has “reviewed the government’s notice to intervene” in the whistle-blower lawsuit, Army spokesman Dan Carlson said. “We feel we have appropriate safeguards in place” to protect the government’s interests.

The no-bid work order is unusual because the Army, at the insistence of Congress, has since April 2008 put all logistics orders to bid, pitting KBR against Falls Church, Va.-based DynCorp International and Irving-based Fluor Corp.

The Army didn’t put the work out for bids because U.S. commanders in Iraq advised against it, saying that enlisting a new company would be too disruptive, Army program director Lee Thompson said in an interview before the Justice Department action was announced. The Army, in a statement, said putting to bid an order for 18 months’ work, and making the transition to a new contractor, would cost at least $77 million.

You see, our government, our taxpayers, and the Army had been shafted so well and thoroughly in 2001 that it would have cost tens of millions of dollars just to..remove the shaft (one might say).

And it just isn’t smart to disrupt field operations/ignore field commanders when those field operations are occurring in the middle of a hot war giving those field commanders bloodier things to worry about. 

(The lesson?  When those who place the profits of corporations and the rate of wealth accumulation of a few entitled rich above liberty, the American people, and the safety and security of these United States are allowed to invade other countries, the initial costs are as nothing compared to the long-term costs.)

Attempt No. 6 since Dec 2, 5 PM ET
12/7/13 12:50 PM ET: Tried again and got a new message this time:
Sorry, an error has occurred. Please try again. If that doesn’t work, log out and wait 30 minutes then try again.

Nicholas Urfe, What do you mean by “start over with a new e-mail address.  Your old one was compromised by Version 1.0.”  Are you suggesting I start a new application as a new user with another Email address?  This will require entering all the application information again, correct?

Clear your browser and Java caches.

and your cookies, for that matter.

Attempt No. 7 since Dec 2, 5 PM ET
12/7/13 3:26 PM ET: Tried again and got the same message:
Sorry, an error has occurred. Please try again. If that doesn’t work, log out and wait 30 minutes then try again.
I always clear caches and cookies

Attempt No. 8 since Dec 2, 5 PM ET
12/7/13 3:44 PM ET: Cleared cache and cookies again. Tried again both in Internet Explorer and Google Chrome and got the same message:
Sorry, an error has occurred. Please try again. If that doesn’t work, log out and wait 30 minutes then try again.

12/7/13: To cover the medical insurance gap (due to layoff) until Jan 1, 2014 I had applied for private insurance for the family.  The insurance company today declined the coverage for me (but approved other family members) perhaps due to too many doctor visits and prescriptions (I am very proactive about healthcare).  I have no serious illness like cancer or diabetes.  Just routine conditions like blood pressure, acid reflux, back pain, and anxiety.  Not over-weight or prior surgeries.  Age: 52-years.

There is a perma-error state for anyone with Experian ID invisibility because even though one can get IDed to start the applications, the social security numbers entered can’t be verified (because healthcare.gov apparently doesn’t interface directly with SS or the IRS, they go BACK to Experian.)  So if you choose to use debit cards and have not borrowed anything over the past 10 yrs - used to be called responsible - you are never going to get your application accepted.  You’ll hit the Yellow Screen of Death at signature ahd pull your hair out. They need to somehow have some manual way to blast people past this wall.

Tom Conservative

Dec. 8, 2013, 4:25 a.m.

So called conservatives are not strictly republican, don’t lump them all together and we won’t lump sub par democrats with all liberal ideals.

What does Bush have to do with this website?  Nothing.  We got a guy in for 5 years who made a bad decision…. One year, two, three… you wanna blame a previous power fine… 5 years.. Sorry, It’s your administrations fault.  But this website problem is peanuts compared to the catastrophic reprocussions this will have on the economy. 

When healthcare for your family costs more than your mortgage, how will the middle class survive ?  They won’t. 

Refresh, clear, restart… No need to really.  If you call they tell you it’s not you, it’s them and they’re working in it.  They thank you for calling and want you to know they’re always there to help you… Then you realize they never actually helped you, they just verified you had a problem and sometimes they’ll tell you they are having the same problem.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Obamacare and You

Obamacare and You

The Rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been marred by glitches and political opposition.

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