By Tim Mooney
On Saturday morning, November 9th, I started…and stopped…trying to use Healthcare.gov, as I’m one of those whose health insurance had been canceled. Must have had an unpatriotic plan that wasn’t Obama-worthy.
Knowing people’s knack for exaggeration, I thought the website and its intrusion couldn’t be all that bad. I’m here to tell it’s every bit as bad as you can imagine and then some.
First the Healthcare.gov webpage didn’t work at all – error page. Tried again.
Then you have to pick your state. Then you have to sign up and create an account. Name has to have capitals and lower case, numbers and the like. Then the password needed the same. Then you get an email back with a link to click. But that didn’t work the first three times.
Next, three security questions have to be filled out – and you cannot create your own questions, just theirs. “Name of your oldest niece.” “Parents anniversary date” – who knows that?
I filled in “Favorite toy as a child” – Explosives!
Ah, but then I remembered the Government wants this information. And it gets even more creepy, as next you need full name, address, Social Security Number, birthday, phone – stuff everyone says never to give online.
Then it sends me four security questions, so they can prove just how much they know about me already.
Confirm from our information:
Which year were you born?
You previously lived on this street; confirm the town this was in.
Which of these was a previous employer?
Which of these High Schools did you attended?
Seems like I’m entering Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” as I’m giving the government more information than I want and seeing they have more information on me than I wish.
I forgot to confirm the street I used to live on. Message sent back quoted directly – “According to our records, you previously lived on (X Street). Please choose the city from the following list where this street is located.”
Now it’s getting like I’m talking to a man with a face scar and a monocle. “Answer zee question! Vee have vays to make you answer zee questions!”
OK – my identity is now verified – 30 minutes later. I just want to know how much a policy is.
Now I fill out an application and give information about myself and my kids. But first I need to confirm that the government can use the information I give them, and here again quoting verbatim from the box I must check:
“I agree to have my information used and retrieved from data sources for this application. I have consent for all people I’ll list on the application for their information to be retrieved and used from data sources.”
Do they really think I’m going to ask my kids for consent? Am I legally bound to have gotten the consent from my kids?
I’ve already violated every known warning against online privacy, so let’s continue.
Now I have to reconfirm my address, and that it’s my home address. If it’s a mailing address that won’t do. Gotta have a home address where they can come knock on my door. Confirm phone number, phone type, preferred spoken language, preferred written language. Do I want to read notices online or be sent in the mail and if online by text or email?
I have to be 20 pages deep of giving information and it’s been 40 minutes.
Now it rejects my info, because I listed my office address as my home address – it knows that! It won’t let me continue unless I confirm it was wrong and list my home address. “Vat kind of zee game are you attempting. Vee know more about you dann you know about yourself!”
Next, who is helping me fill out this information? An approved navigator or someone else?
Now I have to fill out another identity question. “In what city was your first job?” I answer that I was first employed in the idyllic hamlet of Gofuckyourself.
Now information about each person I’m applying for. I need to enter my social security number again – they already asked for it and confirmed it, but no matter.
Am I a citizen? If I’m not, here’s help in becoming a citizen.
Do I plan on filing taxes in 2014?
Am I married?
Will I claim dependents?
Who are these dependents? (It shows me a list of my potential dependents it already knows about.)
Do I have anyone else under 19 living with me?
Am I Hispanic?
What race am I?
It’s now close to an hour and I must be 40 web pages in and still not a single word about health insurance.
Do I have any physical or mental disability? – Well not until I started filling out the questions on this website!
Can I dress myself or do I need help going to the bathroom? This isn’t me making a joke – it’s one of the questions that must be answered before it will show me ANYTHING about health insurance.
Now it freezes up and I can’t continue. Maybe it doesn’t believe I can dress myself or wipe my own ass. (My teenagers don’t think I can either!)
I have spent an hour, filled out way more information than on any other website ever, been shown the Government already knows way too much about me and because it won’t accept my choices of yes I can dress myself and yes I can go to the bathroom without help, it will not move forward.
I’m not joking. Frozen!
I’ve learned nothing about insurance. But I now believe Orwell and Rand weren’t that paranoid. And I never even got to the financial disclosure section. Can’t imagine what questions may exist there.
After giving up, I went to ehealthinsurance.com and chose a family policy from about 30 options in less than 15 minutes. I got a phone call back to confirm and close the deal that rang to my cell in less than 45 seconds from hitting “send.”
The Obamacare website is just amazingly bad, scary intrusive, frustrating, and totally screwed up!
My experience proves once again the public sector can never match the efficiency of the private sector. And it should never try.
Tim Mooney is a partner with the political consulting firm Silver Bullet LLC