Here’s my Obamacare story.
I am the sole provider for my wife and several children. I have a basic mid-level income. My employer offers good insurance but only for me. I have to pay $1000/month to add my dependents to my employer’s insurance. That was not a rate of payment that we could keep up. We found ourselves having to skimp on food and gas to pay for car repairs, for instance. Our growing family no longer fit in our very small house, but with the insurance we couldn’t afford to move out or even build on an addition. So last year it came to a head: it looked like we would either have to go uninsured or stop saving for retirement.
Instead, we hunted around and were able to find cheap insurance we could afford. The cost was a little shy of $300 a month. The deductibles were also higher: we had to pay a little over $5000 out of pocket before coverage really kicked in. So some of the money we saved on insurance we just stashed away for medical costs. We have been happy with the decision. We were irritated that we couldn’t save that money tax-free in a Health Savings Account because of stupid government regulations, but on the whole our new insurance worked well for us.
Obamacare just made our insurance illegal.
We received a notice from our insurer that our cut-rate insurance now costs a little shy of $750/month. The new deductible is now more than $16,000. Let me repeat that. Obamacare has increased our cost of insurance by 150%. It has also increased our deductible by almost 150%. In return for all this, we get subsidized birth control pills (savings=$0) and free gym memberships in gyms that are nowhere close to where we live (benefit=$0).
And if I want to put my family back on the employers’ insurance, Obamacare has raised it to $1200 a month. That is more than my mortgage payment.
I am boiling with rage. I have always suspected in kind of a distant way that the Democrats and our ruling class hates me and mine. But now I know it in my gut. They are deliberately pushing me to the wall so they can pay off their clients. They want to break me. Because of them, my kids are probably going to go uninsured next year. Prayer will be our insurance. If something goes badly wrong, we’ll get treatment and then declare bankruptcy. That’s what Obamacare has reduced me to. I used to be an honorable man.
It gets worse. My family is not eligible for the Obamacare insurance subsidies because I personally get insurance. That’s right, under Obamacare you are punished for having a family. Julia gets subsidies and free birth control pills and gym membership so she can keep herself fit to standards that the guys she picks up have become accustomed to in their sluts, but f you’re a family man, the President says F U.
Even though I wasn’t eligible for subsidies I wanted to get on the exchanges to do a little comparison shopping. I wanted to mitigate the injustice the Democrats were doing to my family even if only a little.
The nightmare began on October 1. I tried to register and couldn’t even get in. I tried again and again. Sometimes I couldn’t get in at all. When I could, the Obamacare system had delays of up to thirty minutes between each stage of the registration process and most of the time it randomly kicked me out part way through. Finally, after multiple attempts, I got to the final step of registration: clicking to have a verification email sent to the email address I’d provided. I did. A couple of hours later I checked my email, saw the link, and clicked it. But the Obamacare website refused to complete my registration. I had waited too long to verify, it told me. But there was no way to ask for a second verification email to be sent and there was no way to step back into the registration process I had already completed. I couldn’t even use my username and password again, since they were now blocked. I had to start from the beginning with the same frustrating registration process. Finally I got through to the verification step again. This time I had my email account open in another window when I clicked to be sent the verification email. Literally 5 seconds later I received the verification email and clicked on the verification link. I got the same error message I had gotten before. I had waited too long to verify. 5 seconds was too much.
I contacted Obamacare’s live chat help line. After frustrating delays, and after getting a number of canned messages from the rep about how Obamacare was helping me to afford insurance, I finally got the answer, which was ‘I’m sure it will all work out in the end.” The rep had no idea how to solve the problem or anything else constructive to say, other than that I try again at 2 AM when traffic was lighter. I called the help number and had the same experience. (At various subsequent stages in the process I tried to get help again and had the same result)
So I tried again at 2 AM. The registration process was still laggy, but not as laggy, and I only got kicked out randomly once. I clicked to be sent a verification email, clicked the verification link literally three to four seconds later—and again got an error message that I had waited too long.
I gave up.
But a few days later, desperation drove me back. This time—finally—the registration process worked and I was in! Except, not so fast, I wasn’t. I had to verify my identity. The Obamacare website asked me a bunch of questions about where I’d lived, prior addresses and phone numbers, stuff like that. It was slow, given the website delays, but none of them were puzzlers and I answered them all correctly. The website told me I hadn’t. I went through the process again, same questions, same result. A third time, with the same result. But I couldn’t do it again because three times I was out. But there was a number I could call. It turned out to be Experian, who asked me the same questions the Obamacare website had, which I answered the same way. Except that Experian agreed that I was me. The identity verification would take about 24 hours to go through.
24 hours later nothing had happened. I called Experian and they had no explanation. The helpline didn’t either (It’s been two weeks now, and still the identity verification hasn’t happened). So I went with the other option, which was uploading a copy of my drivers’ license. I did and actually got a response from the website. It was a form letter stating that Obamacare hadn’t verified my identity and would I please upload a copy of my drivers’ license. I checked on my account profile, and sure enough instead of saying ‘identity verification pending’ it said ‘identify verification needed.’ So I uploaded my drivers’ license again. I did this three more times. Each time the Obamacare website refused to process it and sent me a form letter asking me to upload my drivers’ license. On the fourth time, last Wednesday, the upload finally worked. At least, my status has been ‘identity verification pending’ since then. Although literally every time I have logged in to check, I have been sent another copy of the form letter.
While I was waiting for verification, the system gave me the option of entering my family’s insurance application information. Names, ages, income, stuff like that. It was the labor of Hercules to do it, because at each step the system lagged for awhile. I got kicked out twice and each time none of the information I had already entered was saved. The third time I got to the end, which is the information review step. You’re supposed to check everything and make sure there are no errors. I found one, clicked to correct it—and discovered that the website then erased all of the information I had already entered. The fourth time through I saved at one point and when I logged back in discovered that the income information I had entered had been randomly reset. I haven’t tried since.
By Wednesday I was staring to wonder just how long it took to look at a drivers’ license. So I did something I knew to be useless and called the help line. Amazingly, the guy was able to actually access my account and confirm that my drivers’ license was uploaded. But he refused to verify my identity and told me to call back on Friday if it still hadn’t worked.
Today is Friday. After waiting awhile for the website to load I just checked my status and, sure enough, nothing has changed. I am about to call the helpline again. I am going to bow and scrape and truckle to an arrogant stupid person who despises me, and at the end he or she will tell me they don’t know what’s wrong, I should call back later, and whatever is wrong is probably my fault anyway.
The last two months have made me a radical. I have realized that our government is inefficient and tyrannical. It is not run for the benefit of ordinary people. It is run to hurt us. We are pawns in elite games. The Republicans are not going to save us. Their recent shutdown theater did literally nothing to help me. Literally nothing. The only outcome was that all Washington agreed to keep piling up debt on the backs of my children. The system is rotten.
The Mormon prophets and apostles have proclaimed that “responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere [should] promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” No one who believes in their authority can support this government. No one who believes in freedom can support this government. No one who believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people, can support this government. No one who believes in justice can support this government. No one who believes in sanity can support this government.
I don’t know what to do. But something must be done. We cannot go on in the same old way.
The axe must be laid to the root of the tree.
Update, October 18:
The people on the help line were nice. They seemed pretty beatdown and were grateful I didn’t scream at them.
But they weren’t able to help me. Eventually I got a supervisor who took my information and said the Resolution Center would call me sometime. So far they haven’t.
Update, October 21:
The “Resolution Center” hasn’t called me yet. I tried calling the help line and couldn’t get through.
Update, October 22:
I got through to the helpline again. The representative told me that there was no way to verify my identity that she or her supervisor could find. I asked if I could just create another account. She checked with her supervisor and said that might work. So, I get to go through the whole process all over again. But I’d need to create a new email address, she said, and create a dedicated Obamacare account. To be fair, the President never said that if you liked your email address, you’d get to keep it.
Update, October 22, later:
I tried creating a new account. After slogging through all the delays, I got an error message with no explanation.
So I called the help line again. The representative there also tried to set me up with a new account. She couldn’t either. Neither could her supervisor. Finally the representative told me that I could apply without an account and the plan options my family was eligible. The application took two hours. When we were done I asked when I was sent the plan options, how did I sign up for them? Did I contact the insurers directly? She got puzzled and said that she actually didn’t even know how to have the plan information sent to me. She thought there was going to be a link or a command to do it and there wasn’t one. That took two hours.
I tried again to set up a new account. Cleared all my caches and cookies, entered completely different data as much as possible. I even made up new, fictional answers to the security questions. And it worked!
Even more miraculously, the system linked my new account to the application that the representative had already filled out for me on the phone. So I wouldn’t have to do it all over again.
Except that when I went to submit that application, the system forced to view and confirm each item of already entered information, with about a thirty-second lag between each step, until about halfway through when it wiped the completed application altogether and just made me enter the information again, with a thirty-second lag between each click. It took me 4 hours.
At the very end, the system got even more laggy and started popping up various kinds of error messages and rebooting itself. In the process, it seems to have messed up some of the information in the application as best as I could tell. So at the review step I went back to find and fix whatever was wrong and the system booted me out altogether.
I’ll tackle it again tomorrow. I’ve had enough for today.
Update, October 22
When I logged in tomorrow, I got a notification that my unfinished application had submitted itself somehow! I had been denied a subsidy (no big surprise there).
The system wouldn’t let me check my application to see what information it actually contained when submitted. The Obamacare system also wouldn’t let me fill out a new application. It also wouldn’t let me see the plans available for my area. Let me repeat that—because it decided I wasn’t eligible for a subsidy, the Obamacare system wouldn’t let me know what plans I could buy. Am I still required to buy a plan on pain of being fined hundreds of dollars? Yes. Will the system let me shop for a plan? No.
So I called the help line again. The gentleman was courteous but by no means possessed of an elite mind. However, I was finally able to get him and his supervisor to understand the issue. They had no idea what to do about the prematurely/incorrectly submitted application. They couldn’t reopen the application or let me submit a new one. They couldn’t tell me how to use the system to shop for plans. They had two suggestions: wait and hope that something turned up, or write a letter to some appeal board in hopes they would grant me a subsidy, which they hoped would be enough to let me look at available plans.
I am throwing in the towel. I’ll either figure out some way of squeezing the budget enough to pay for the exorbitant Obamacare insurance my current insurer offers, or we’ll cancel the insurance for the kids altogether. My guess is that the other insurance plans in my area are probably as costly as the one on offer anyhow.
Update, November 18
So if you’ll recall my last update, we were denied permission to look for plans on the Obamacare Exchange.
The Lovely One and I have been redoing our budget to see if we can afford our insurer’s Obamacare replacement for our old insurance. We can–if we cut our food budget by 20% and eliminate our budget for medical costs. In addition to paying for insurance, we normally budget some money every month to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. To pay for Obamacare medical insurance, we’d have to eliminate that budget item. To afford medical insurance, we’d no longer be able to afford medical care.
So, in a bit of desperation, I was re-reading the 13-page denial notice again and noticed that there was a number I could call to appeal. Which is good. In order to have insurance in January, I have to sign up by December 15. There’s no way that sending a letter to an appeal board somewhere would move that fast, even in normal times. But a phone number could move a little quicker.
I waited on hold for thirty minutes. The number turned out to be a special variation of the normal Obamacare help line. Instead of the woman identifying herself as part of the “Solutions Center,” she identified herself as part of the “Advanced Solutions Center.” It took her all of thirty seconds to tell me that she couldn’t help me ‘appeal’ the website’s refusal to let me look at anything. Her job was to tell people who called the number to . . . send a written appeal to the appeal board. So I asked her if she could at least tell me *why* I was denied the appeal. She could not. I asked her how I was supposed to appeal when I didn’t know what the ostensible basis for my denial was? She didn’t know. Finally she said she could refer me to someone who would know. It turned out to be a navigator. Would they know the reason I was denied? She avoided the question several times, then finally admitted they wouldn’t. She then said I could find out on the website. I tried to log on while she was on the phone but got an error message: “we’re busy right now, trying logging in again sometime!” So I asked her where I would find this information on the website, having looked for it before and never having found it. After some evasions on her part she finally admitted that the information I would find on the website was . . . the phone number I was talking to her on, and the address of the appeal board.
I asked her if the appeal board would respond to me before December 15. She said she doubted it.
January 1 Update:
We couldn’t find affordable insurance. We joined a Christian healthcare sharing ministry instead.