Monday, October 7, 2013

The System Is Down

It's 5:30 on a Monday morning. I can't sleep. So I think to myself: Obamacare!

I've been trying since Tuesday, October 1, to enroll for coverage under the celebrated Affordable Care Act. I recently retired and just wanted to see what my options are. But if my enrollment experience on is any indication, millions of Americans will remain uninsured out of sheer frustration.

For the first several days, I couldn't get past the question on the front page about where I live. I live in West Virginia, which has not set up an exchange of its own I had to enroll on the federal government's website. But every time I clicked on West Virginia, the system was busy.

I had a major breakthrough on Saturday. I successfully selected my state of residence, and opened my Obamacare account. Before I could begin the actual process of enrollment, though, I had to verify my email address. sent me an email, with a link to take me back to the account I had just opened to finish my enrollment. But it didn't recognize me. I was a complete stranger. I had to start all over.

I opened a second account on Sunday ...with the same personal information, but a different user name and password. I tried to log in using the name and password I had set up the day before, but didn't recognize them. Then, when I tried to open a new account using the same name and password, I couldn't, because they were already taken the very account it claimed not to recognize.

Now that I had an Obamacare account, it was time to enroll. The next section dealt with issues of risk, like how much I weigh and whether I use alcohol and tobacco. I clicked on the link, and went ...nowhere. There was no such section. It didn't exist. A dead end. The only option I had left was a live chat helpline. I logged on and, and the representative suggested trying again early the next morning when traffic would be lighter.

So I did. I tried again at 5:30 this morning, and the entire website was down ...for scheduled maintenance. Back to the live chat helpline, and this advice:

Keep trying.

It's a good thing I'm retired. I've got nothing but time, and I will keep trying ...just to see what happens. I wonder how many others will.