I’ve been pretty vocal about my feelings on the whole ‘Healthcare.gov‘ fiasco. In short, while I get that there are going to be glitches, it’s reaching a point of ridiculousness that going to be hard to come back from. As with any new program, this massive in size, there are going to issues that need to be work out.. bugs that need to be fix etc. I’m a patient person (sometimes) so when having my own problems with Healthcare.gov from the 1st week until yesterday, my feelings have ranged from ‘eh, it’s new.. what did I expect’.. to ‘ok guys, this is starting to get stupid’.. Yesterday’s adventure into Healthcare.gov though? Well.. to some it would be pure comedy gold, to others a sign of the impending doom that is “Obamacare”… to me? The most emotional 1hr and 20 mins I’ve experienced in quite a long time. It was a mountain range of emotions…with peaks and valleys of irritation,humor,anger,humor,confusion,disbelief,humor,conceit,humor,anger to finally apathy. What follows is how I spent my Sunday morning. The conversations are all real. The names have been changed because I either didn’t get their name or I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. Regardless of this ‘creative licensing’..this is a true story.
Before I get too far let me explain what my problems with the website have been. I’ve been able to log in and set up my account with relative ease. I think I had that “we are experiencing a heavy volume, please wait a moment’ error message once.. and that ‘wait’ was all of 30-40 seconds. No, my problems have been much more frustrating. I’m able to log in,create an account and fill out(ad nauseum) all the information that is required for me and my household.. but when I get to the ‘end’.. the damn site won’t ‘verify’ my ID. When I’ve done what it asks of me to do to prove I am who I say I am (upload docs), I’m told my ‘files’ are too big.. which they are not. They are 1/4 of the maximum size and still disallowed. The problem is.. each and every time I get to this part of the process… it deletes all the information I’ve just spend 20 mins filling out on my household. Now the first 17 times this happened it was humorous.. a month later, after filling out the same damn questionnaire for all 4 members of my family,repeatedly, it was no longer humorous.. it was pissing me off.
BUT! this time, yesterday morning there was progress!…. The ‘error’ message came with a phone number to call (ya) So I called and this is where we jump down the rabbit hole and where this story begins.
ACA recording: You have reached the….. if you have a reference number press 1. If you do not have a reference number press 2.
TheVSJ: “reference number”? don’t have one of those so ..’pressing 2′
ACA recording: I’m sorry, but to complete this call you must have a reference number..
TheVSJ: huh? did she hang up on me? *looks at phone* damnit.. she hung up. Lets try that again.
(I repeated this phone call thinking I missed something in the recording. I didn’t. If I have ref number I press 1, if not 2..pretty simple! I don’t have one, so I hit 2, which is where I’m told that in order to complete my call I have to have a ref number and then I’m hung up on)
At this point I figure “Ok, let’s try the Live Chat” that the website offers.. here is that conversation.
Me: Hi, (a brief recap of my problem).. Now I need to find a reference number so that I can verify my ID and find out how much all this socialized medicine in going to cost me
Miguel: Thank you for your patience. To verify your ID you need to upload certain documents to the website
Me: I know, but it will not allow me to do that. It keeps telling me that my doc size is too big, but they’re not. So what I need now is a reference number so I can try doing it by phone. Where would I find that number?
Miguel: I apologize for the problems you are having. I cannot give you a reference number because we don’t have that information. Please call 866-aaa-aaaa and they can assist you further
Me: No they can’t because they are the ones asking for the reference number.
Miguel: If you call them and explain to them what your problem is, they will be able to help you further
Me: uh… no they won’t because they want a reference number and without one they hang up on me… seriously guys, it can’t be this hard.
Miguel: I apologize for the problems you are having. To verify your identity you must upload supporting documents to the site.
Me: (getting pissy now).. Really? Ok wow. I didn’t know it was that easy. You’d think I would have tried that. Well let me just go ahead and try again
Miguel: is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: Sure, what exactly is the purpose of the ‘Live Chat’?
Miguel: Yes, we’re here to help you with any problems you may have been having
Me: but you’re not helping at all. You’re telling me to repeatedly do something that is the reason why I’m talking to you in the 1st place. I can’t verify without a reference number and all you can do is tell me to call the phone number that demands the reference number. That’s not much help Miguel.
Miguel: I apologize for the problems you are having. You can try and call the ACA Hotline at 111-222-3333 and see if they can help you.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>end of chat>>>>>>
Let me preface this by saying.. at the start of each new conversation I had to explain what was going on, and with each new explanation… I had to add in the prior ‘phone call’ to the conversation. I’m not going to include those ‘build-ups’ because to experience that redundancy twice in two days is simply the equivalent of waterboarding a mental patient… fun, but not very helpful. Let me also say (as if you couldn’t tell already)… this ride is long,twisting and… well, long. So grab a refreshment and enjoy my journey to the other side.
Dave: Hello, Welcome to the Health Insurance Market Place. How can I help you today.
Me: *I explain it all.. even the stupidity of the “Live Chat”,my “verify” problems and the idiocy of repeatedly filling out the same questionnaire 75 times*
Dave: I’m sorry you’re having problems, I’m sure I can help you with them today. To go any further though I will need your SS# and log-in information.
Me: Ok.. no problem… 333-33-3333… Log in ygtbfkm1
Dave: Thank you. Ok I see you need to verify your information. To do that you just need to go to the “verify’ tab and there will be a button to ‘upload’ certain documents. Those documents are…
Me: Uh No.. I already explained.. It won’t allow me to do this. Then it tells me to call 866-aaa-aaaa. That tells me I need a reference number. Can you give me a reference number?
Dave: I’m sorry but I can’t give you that information
Me: Can’t or won’t?
Dave: I don’t have it here. You would need to call 866-aaa-aaaa to get that information
Me: You’re kidding right? That’s the number that is asking FOR the reference number and will not take my call until it’s given the number
Dave:hmmm… let me check something. Can you hold?
Dave: *under his breath, to himself … if an applicant needs to verify their identity they can upload the documents to the website. They can also call 866-aaa-aaaa to verify their identity…* Mrs StraitJacket, It says here that you can verify one of 2 ways. Either upload the information, which you say you’ve tried?
Me: 2 dozen times now
Dave: Right.. or call the 866 number. Would you like me to try the number and see if I can get someone there to get you a reference number? Then maybe you can call them back with that number and they can help you.
Me: I would love for you to do that.
Dave: Ok.. I’m going to put you on hold and I’ll be right back
Dave: well, you were right. All it does is hang up on you.
Dave: haha… Ok, so let’s try something else. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this
Me: That’s ok.. now I have company to experience it with me
Dave: haha.. true-true. *reads to himself again what he just read a minute ago*
Me: Maddening isn’t it?
Me: Look, I know you hear this 100 times a day.. but I’m an Obama Fan. I’m for socialized medicine. I want medicare for all.. but this is seriously insane. I mean, you get that don’t you?
Dave : Yes. haha..Yes
Dave: Ok… here is another number to the national hotline to try. Do you mind if I put you on 3-way calling that way if there are any questions you need to answer-
Me: sure thing
Dave: dialing……phone ringing…..
Hello, This is Norwegian Cruise-line, my name is Victor how can I help you today..
Dave: under his breath “what the h…..”
Dave: Did you just say..
Me: Yea I’m going on a cruise!!!!!
Victor: where would you like to go today?
Me: anywhere but here Victor!
Dave: wait.. I’m need to reach *inaudible* so I can get a reference number for a healthcare plan-
Me: Dave.. this is Norwegian Cruise Lines.. he wants to sell us a cruise
Dave: you’re kidding?
me and Victor overlap : No
Me:HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATHIS IS AWESOME!!!!HAHAHAHA
Dave : Hahaha.. uh, I think we have the wrong number sorry *he disconnects call with Victor”
followed is 2-3 mins of absolute guffawing by Dave and myself. tears streaming down our faces, bellies cramping,shortness of breath laughing out loud..
Me: Welcome to my world Dave!
Dave: OMG OMG OMG! I can’t believe that just happened.
Me: Oh I totally can! Hahahahah
Me: Btw, just be glad Hannity didn’t record this call!
Me: So now what? We going on that cruise or what?
Dave: I think we’re going to need to. Ok.. now that I’ve dried my face.. let’s try another number. I’ll put you on 3-way again
me: You better, I haven’t had this much fun in a month
Dave:hahaha me either.. *dialing..ringing..automated answer*
Voice: You’ve reached *inaudible*.. if you are under the age of “50” press 1. If you are over “50” press 2.
Dave: are you under 50?
Me: Yes.. totally!
Dave: then we press 1. *beep*
**and I shit you not…**
Happy Voice: CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected to receive a 3-day 2 night cruise for two
Dave and Me overlapping:HAHAHAHAHAHAHAREYOUF’INGKIDDINGME!!HAHAHAHAHHAHA
Voice:..are you still there? press 1to claim your cruise
Dave: What should I do?
Me: Uh, whaddaya think? Press one, let’s get our damn cruise!!! Yeehaw!
Dave: pressing buttons… over and over again “She won’t let me hang up
Voice: Incorrect number. I’m sorry I don’t understand. If you would like to…
Dave: OMG this isn’t happening *pressing button*
Voice, no longer happy : I’m sorry, but after further review, you have been found ineligible to receive the promotion cruise
Me: uh-oh Dave… you pissed her off.
Dave: Oh crap! Did her voice just get ominous?
Me: HA! yes I was thinking the same thing.. Rise of the machines man!
Dave: *laughing* It won’t let me disconnect.. Ok there! Wow
Me and Dave LOL for another couple of minutes. Neither of us believing what has just happened.
Dave: I’m so sorry for all of this
Me: Are you kidding?! This has been awesome!
Dave: Haha it’s been something!
Me: You know no one is going to believe this right?
Dave: Haha.. I know.
Me: So what now?
Dave: I really don’t know haha
Dave: ok.. I’m going to have to transfer up to a senior specialist and see if they can figure this out for you
Me: Yeah, good luck with that
Dave: I know, right.
Me: well atleast it’s been interesting Dave!
Dave: Yes. Best call I’ve had since I started here. Is there anything else I can do for you before I transfer you?
Me: Nah, I’m good.
Dave: well you have a great day today
Me: Oh I plan on drinking heavily after I’m done here.. so I will.
Dave : Yeah I have to work all day so I won’t be drinking until later
Me: That’s ok, I’ll drink for you.. and dream of the cruise we never got to go on
Dave: HAHAHAHAHA.. sounds good.. ok hold on while I transfer you. Good bye
Claire: Hello, my name is Claire how can I help you
Me: *inside my head ‘no, it’s a fat girls name*.. Uh, sorry I’ve been on the phone for so long I forget why I called
Claire: *with attitude and food in her mouth* Mmm-hmm.
Me: Ok.. uh.. I was just transferred to you by Dave, did he tell you anything?
Me: so that’s a yes?
Claire: *sucks teeth* What seems to be your problem.
Me: do you want me to start from the beginning?
Me:Uh.. ok… *I tell her all of it.. from the 1st time I sign up at Healthcare.gov ending with mine and Dave’s hilarity*
Claire: *sucks teeth* *silence*………..
Claire: mmm hmm, You need call 866-aaa-aaaa if you want a…
Me: you’re kidding right? I mean there’s a camera on me and Ashton Kutcher is about to jump out and tell me I’m punked.. seriously did you not hear anything I just said between mouthfuls? I’ve tried that number. Dave’s tried that number, it just hangs up on you
Claire: can you hold while I try the number?
Claire 3-way calls… voice answers..
Voice: Please press one if you have a reference number. Please press two if you don’t
Me: It’s going to hang up on you
Claire:sucks teeth… presses 2
Voice: I’m sorry, to use this system you need a reference number… *silence*
Me: told you.. it just hung up on you.
Claire:..sucks teeth *under her breath* yes it did*
Me: smiling in vindication
Claire: Ok, let me try this number
Me: Dave tried that.. it’s the NCL hotline to book a cruise
Claire: mmm hmmm… *presses numbers…. ringing*
Sean: Hi, This is Norwegian Cruise-line, my name is Sean how can I be of help to you today..
me: told you
Claire hangs up.
me: smiling in vindication
Claire; Ok, you’re just going to have mail your information in
Me: Wait what? How long will that take
Claire: I don’t know
Me: what? will it take a 10 days? 30? 180?
Claire: sucks teeth* I don’t know.. maybe 1-2 weeks.
Me: what do I do in the meantime?
Claire: just keep checking back at the website
me: I don’t think you understand. I can’t just ‘check’ the website. I makes me start the whole application all over again. I’ve entered my families information so many times that I’m dreaming about SS# and incomes.
Claire: mmm hmm.. I’m sorry but that’s all I can tell you to do. If you want I can have a senior specialist call you back and update you on the progress
Me: I thought you were the senior specialist
Claire: I am, but I mean someone in another department
Me: When will they call
Claire: I don’t know
Me: what? seriously? you can’t tell me if it’ll be a day and week or 4 months?
Claire: No, we’re told it will be in 1-2 weeks.
Me: So you lied to me just then when you said ‘you don’t know’ when they’ll call me back?
Claire: sucks teeth. do you want me to have them call you
Me: amazing! you know this is stupid right? I mean, you have to see that
Claire: *ignoring me and still typing*.. Ok, when would you like for them to call
Me: in 15 mins.. that’ll give me time to smoke a marlboro and snort a Valium!
Claire: I tolt you they won’t call for 1-2 weeks.
Me; Then why did you ask when I wanted them to call?
Claire: I meant what time?
Claire: i can have them call from 10-2 or 2-5
Claire: ok what?
Me: Ok.. they can call from 10-2 or 2-5 I don’t really care at this point. Can I get Dave back on the phone
Claire: No, we don’t have assigned calls they just come in random
Me: damn.. he was a lot more fun.
Claire: Ok, I have noted the call to say “applicant wants to know when her verification documentation will be processed” Is that good enough?
Me: No, it’s not good enough at all but I guess it’ll have to do.
Claire: Thank you for calling today..
1hr and 20 minutes later.. at 11:36 am.. I opened a beer, went outside, lit a cigarette and said to myself… “hmmm, maybe lil mike has a point“
- Good News for the ACA: New Study Finds that One in Five People Who Visited Health Insurance Website Enrolled in a Plan (publichealthwatch.wordpress.com)
- Obama to speak on ACA site woes (politico.com)
- Schrodinger’s or Pandora’s? (bryanpgdumas.wordpress.com)
- How The Sabotage Of Obamacare Worked (dish.andrewsullivan.com)