This is the third part of the series I started a while back. You can see them all by going to the Health Exchange Fun label summary.
As I noted in the previous post, I meant to come back and look at the site before October 1st. With the government shutdown and so many other fun things to write about (and having a life), I didn't get a chance to to do that. Since October 1st, I have gone back to the main site a few times and tried using the default exchange (which is what a Virginia resident is supposed to do) to look over my options. As has been noted elsewhere, this is as far as I got:
Since that was out, I returned to the main screen and used to link to go to the exchange for DC residents. To do anything on the site, you have to establish an account. This got me thinking. What if the House measure succeeds in getting all Federal Employees to go through the exchange to get their healthcare? I decided to fill out the forms to see how hard it would be for Obama to do this himself.
After putting in an appropriate username and password, I had to select some alternative security questions and answers:
Entered some details about myself:
My kids & spouse:
Then got to this summary screen - so far so good:
I then selected to browse for plans:
Note the cute little people in the top right corner. Two adults and two children. Also note that the adults both are generic 'men' pictures, even though I entered a female spouse. In their efforts to be gender neutral here, they made 'man' shapes! How sexist! I am drafting a letter to the ACLU!
Moving on, the next screen was something of a surprise:
I was asked to select what kind of plans I was looking for. In DC, apparently the exchanges include dental care! I did not realize that dental was part of Obamacare. Reading the fine print, it appears that some plans come with pediatric care. How can the do this in a program that is only funded to support regular health plans? There seems to be a legal conundrum. What if they also included witch doctor consults? Would the taxpayer have to supplement that also?
I next was asked to select a plan type.
Not really knowing Obama's financial situation, I decided to select the cheapest and the most expensive. That way he will have an idea of what his high/low outstanding cost are. On the next screen, I selected to see all plans, regardless of the deductible:
Love the $$$ fanned out. I feel like I am playing the lottery!
Uh-oh! I encountered the first (non-fatal) error when I hit next:
Apparently, my form has already been processed before - even though this is my first visit. How is that possible? Has Obamacare somehow violated the space time continuum? I'm not so sure I am comfortable straying outside the laws of physics to get health insurance. I pressed 'Ok' and proceeded carefully...
The lowest priced plan has a $12000 deductible, and a monthly payment of $721. That probably is a bit our of reach for most the vulnerables of DC. let's see what the most expensive, lowest deductible plan looks like:
So that one cost more than what most people pay for rent. How practical! I am so glad that Obama is standing up to the childish Republicans to preserve our right to this health insurance.
I selected the 'See if I Qualify' button and got this:
If you think that is a blank page, you are correct! This is as far as I could get. I returned to the main page and selected the 'Apply for help paying' option,
since I was thinking that even Obama would need a little help with the above quoted rates. I was presenting with the intriguing following menu:
So apparently, call center folks will be using this web site to 'help' people. Since every other Tom, Dick, and Harry are using it too, what could go wrong? I wondered what that would look like, so I selected that option. It asked for my name and ID. Since I didn't have one I hit the back button, which brought me back to the main menu. After navigating back to the above menu, I selected to bottom option and got this:
So apparently, even 'authorized representatives' are going to have a hard time getting into this.
I selected the top option and filled in my information. I was curious what a 'homeless' person would do, so I choose those options:
You gotta love where technology has taken us. Now even homeless people without addresses can have health insurance. Of course, if they are say, sitting in Jamaica and filling out this, there is really nothing to stop them. Thus, the next set of questions:
I played with this for a little while. Selecting all manner of combinations of having & not having a valid citizenship - each time I selected next, I got this screen
Then this when I hit next:
I am not quite sure what I am supposed to provide 'Administrator' with here, but that message strikes me as a little scary. Not making any progress here, I hit my browser 'back' button to return to the main menu (not the previous one - I have learned how to navigate this site!) and select to apply without getting financial help:
I am once again asked to enter in my name and ethnicity. This time I decide to be an incarcerated illegal alien:
When I select 'next', I am told to call a different toll free number with my 'reference number'.
I did not really see such a number anywhere. If I were a illegal alien sitting in a prison somewhere, filling out this web page on my computer, I would be getting pretty mad right now, maybe even start a riot! Attica! Attica!
I tried filling it out as a regular person, using a pseudo real SSN:
and got this again:
An interesting note here. When I entered a totally BS SSN, I got an error. This makes me think that there might me a security flaw here where this would be a tool for screening valid SSNs. That's a little frightening also.
Since I was clearly going nowhere, I went back to the main menu and played a little with finding an 'trained expert' to help me out. This helpful map was displayed:
What's interesting about this, is trained experts don't actually have to be located in DC to help out the residents there. In fact, it appears that brokers are predominately outside the district. That seems a little odd. I do hope that they are paying Google for this map service and not violating Google's terms of service:
When I selected one of the experts, and clicked on what looked like a web link I got this:
Effectively, a 404 error.
In browsing the 'trained experts', I came across this one:
This was clearly a made up entry that somehow made it into the database, unless trained experts who speaks 'Amharic' (a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia) or Mandarin is needed for DC - which it could be. I looked up the web address mentioned in the e-mail reference and came up with this:
So Sara didn't purge her test entry from the database before the DC site went live. This seems a little, I don't know unprofessional and amateurish?
I could go into a whole rant here about how the 'agile' development process is so much BS, but I will save that for another time. Suffice it to say we are getting exactly what we paid for with these health exchanges. God help us all...