October 16, 2013
Now that we're two weeks into open enrollment for subsidized healthcare, many have found that the process is nowhere near as simple as it was touted. In light of countless comments from infuriated users, the process has been rife with frustration, based mainly on the many challenges that have been reported while using the government's dedicated health insurance marketplace.
So far, three key issues appear to have been causing the majority of the problems. Let's take a closer look at these, before looking at how to get around them.
Excessively Long Waits
One customer told me that the process of waiting to fill out a subsidized health insurance application, was tantamount to waiting in a virtual waiting room for Springsteen tickets on sale day. Another informed us that she attempted to buy a plan, every day on her lunch break, but in five days did not actually manage to get far enough in the application process. For kicks, our marketing director tried setting up an account and applying for a subsidy, but ended up waiting for close to 100 minutes before being allowed to begin.
And this is just the beginning… the time when the system is supposed to be dazzling us with its stellar technology and super-fast processing speeds. After all, this is a government website, right? For something that was so massively hyped and sold to the American People under the promise of making life wonderful, you would at least expect the thing to work.
Timeouts & Start-Overs
Some of the more concerning stories, came from people who were nearly finished with their application, only to be "timed-out" while trying to locate some random bit of income or tax record information. And remarkably, you do not have the luxury of starting from your time-out spot; you go right back to the beginning to re-login and start the process over.
We find it absolutely absurd that this is even allowed to happen, considering where we are in terms of today's technology. It proves that the geniuses in charge of putting this train wreck together either: a) did not take timeouts into consideration, b) simply didn't care, or c) hired a technology company that was too inept to even recognize the need for it. Either way, it's unacceptable and will undoubtedly cause (and has already caused) an immeasurable amount of stress and wasted time.
The simple truth is that most people have never had to deal with advanced health insurance jargon. Why would they, honestly? Now that every American has been forced to buy a new healthcare plan, they have no option but to become an expert in it. When you buy health insurance on an employer's plan, or when you get it through your spouse, you rarely have to take into consideration the difference between deductibles and max out of pocket expenses, or things like actuarial values, essential benefits and other terms.
However, if you don't want to be stuck in a plan that you can't change for one year (we'll talk about that one later), it's imperative to make sure that you do understand them, or that you're working with a broker who does.
Work with a Local Health Insurance Broker
Most of our clients are surprised to learn that we do not charge a fee for our healthcare consultation services. Still, working with a broker is smart for many reasons. First, you have an expert on your side that can walk you through the entire process. Next, you will have someone local to contact down the road, in the event that something in your plan needs explaining (the alternative is calling a government customer service number, you be the judge).
And finally, all of this service and expertise comes at zero expense to you. The benefit to the broker is a small commission paid by the major carrier, for assisting in the proper and expedited submission of all forms, paperwork and other new policy-related actions. Since this costs you nothing and provides you with access to a qualified expert, it's shocking that more people don’t call brokers first… especially now.
If you're in Illinois or the Chicago area, and would like one of our agents to assist you, free of charge, in setting up your new health insurance plan or applying for a subsidy, Premier is here to help. We're located in Lisle and Chicago and can be reached at 800-369-0287, or by e-mail at our secure contact page.