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.
Posted 7 Nov. 2013
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.
An error message incorrectly states that Athanassiadis entered one answer for multiple security questions, even though he provided different answers in each field.
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.
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.
Athanassiadis attempts to update his contact information, but is confronted with another error message.
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.
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.
"The system is down at the moment."
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.
Athanassiadis checks to see if his initial user identification has been verified. Still pending after nearly one month.
Nick's identity has been verified for his second username.
System down ... again.
"With this account you can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs."
This feels like we're getting close to some kind of payoff.
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.
"Your account has been created." Athanassiadis is stuck yet again at "view eligibility results." He has to start the application process over again.
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
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.
And the other plans that Nick has to choose from have even pricier premiums.