HealthCare.gov—the U.S. government’s web site that is meant to facilitate health insurance sales under the Affordable Care Act (‘ObamaCare’)—went live, at least in a sense, on October 1. I decided to give it a shot a week or two later and see what it would cost to insure myself under President Barack Obama’s (D) signature law. I didn’t get very far.
It’s old news now that the site didn’t work properly for the vast majority of visitors, and it didn’t work right for me either. So I waited a few more weeks. The media kept telling me that it was getting better every day, and, sure enough, my second attempt let me get all the way through the application process . . . only to fail at the very end with a cryptic, nonsensical error. Oh well.
Then I tried again a couple of days later, and the site told me that it was unable to verify my identity. Funny, the government usually has no problem verifying my identity. The Internal Revenue Service accepts my identity when I send them my taxes. The Federal Communications Commission accepted it when I got my General Mobile Radio Service license. The Social Security Administration sends me estimates of how much money I will get if the system is still working when I retire. The Transportation Security Administration lets me get on planes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation approves my firearm purchase every time I go through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. I’ve been through a Department of Defense background check too. The Department of Education happily accepts my student loan payments.
But HealthCare.gov—which is supposedly ‘fixed’ now for the ‘vast majority’ of users—still can’t figure out who I am, and it still won’t let me proceed through the identity verification step. An unexpected error occurred. It gives me the option to call the ‘Marketplace Call Center’ to try and work through the issue, and occasionally I get an inexplicable screen telling me to call the Experian help desk—a private credit rating bureau—because, you know, the government needs Experian’s help to figure out who I am.
Anyway, I don’t feel like sitting on hold for six hours to satisfy my idle curiosity. Maybe this time next year, when the employer mandates kick-in and we all get dropped from our employer plans, the site will let me see what plans I’m eligible for. In the mean time, this is about all that the new and improved HealthCare.gov has to offer me: