Obamacare Odyssey


One man's odyssey with the Obamacare website

HealthCare.gov website experiencing outage.
Source: HealthCare.gov

Nick Athanassiadis spent more than one month trying to acquire health insurance through HealthCare.gov, the federal website that is supposed to be enrolling people in new insurance policies issued under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. At nearly every turn Athanassiadis was faced with technical glitches that turned the seemingly simple task of signing up for health insurance into a nearly 40-day-long nightmare. The following slideshow takes you through a handful of annoying hang-ups encountered along the way.

By CNBC.com
Posted 7 Nov. 2013

Account privacy

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Empty drop-down menus make it impossible for Athanassiadis to select security questions to protect the privacy of his account. In an attempt to move forward in the application process, he blindly enters responses and is taken to a new screen that shows an error message.

Security questions error

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

An error message incorrectly states that Athanassiadis entered one answer for multiple security questions, even though he provided different answers in each field.

Identity verification error

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Athanassiadis tries to upload a 53KB document containing an image of his driver's license, but receives an error message that his document couldn't be uploaded. The message further states that the maximum upload size is 10MB. He is then prompted to contact Experian to verify his identity, which he does. When he logs back on to the website to complete his application, he sees that his identity still could not be verified.

Contacting the help line

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

After failing to initiate an online chat, Athanassiadis calls the help line for assistance. The woman on the help line tells him that his case will be escalated and that he will receive a call back within two business days. He didn't receive a call back.

Contact information error

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Athanassiadis attempts to update his contact information, but is confronted with another error message.

Family household errors

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Athanassiadis changes his application midway to include himself and his son, excluding his wife, who already has medical coverage. The system does not make the change and his wife is still listed as a dependent to be covered. Nick replaces his wife's details with his son's in hopes that he can delete his wife from the next screen. This too, fails to work. Nick's wife is now listed as his son's son/daughter.

ID still not verified

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

After successfully uploading his driver's license, Athanassiadis waits 19 days for his identity to be verified before starting over with a new account. His identity has yet to verified on his initial account.

Technical difficulties

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

"The system is down at the moment."

Message waiting

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

The website notifies Nick that he has a message available about his identity verification, but the only button available is an "x" which removes the note. There is no way for him to read the message.

ID still pending

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Athanassiadis checks to see if his initial user identification has been verified. Still pending after nearly one month.


Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Nick's identity has been verified for his second username.

Frustration keeps building

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

System down ... again.

Third username

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

"With this account you can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs."

Getting somewhere?

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

This feels like we're getting close to some kind of payoff.

Approaching the finish line

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Nick enters his electronic signature and hits "continue" to verify his identity. There is no link for the "save and continue to verify identity" button forcing him to choose save and return later.

Another account ...

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

"Your account has been created." Athanassiadis is stuck yet again at "view eligibility results." He has to start the application process over again.

Nowhere to click

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Nick is unable click on "application details" and is left randomly clicking all over the page in an attempt to move the process forward. After clicking multiple times on the "set" button, which is not an active link, he is finally able to go to the next screen and review his coverage options

"Affordable" insurance

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

Nick searches his options for a plan that is the most comparable to the one he currently has. But he discovers that the least expensive one has a premium more than 27 percent higher than what he pays now, and an annual deductible that is $1,000 more than the one he has now.

Even more expensive options

Source: Nick Athanassiadis

And the other plans that Nick has to choose from have even pricier premiums.