Considering taxpayers shelled out more than $500 million to build the Obamacare online exchanges, we'd like to know how they're actually operating, for good or for bad.
We know it's not all good...
For example, the federal government is operating an exchange for 36 states, and it's seen some of the worst complications. Part of the problem is volume: Within three days, a whopping 8.6 million people visited healthcare.gov.
We also know that Obamacare's success depends on having a large number of people enroll - especially the younger, healthier crowd. The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare needs 7 million people to sign up at a minimum for it to stay afloat financially.
In the first week after launching, Obamacare's primary online signup saw only 51,000 enrollees.
But are these paltry numbers simply the result of online exchange glitches?
We asked readers for their real-life exchange experiences, not to be skewed by the rhetoric getting dumped into the media daily from politicians in both camps.
Via our Money Morning Facebook page, readers shared their personal experience in trying to get information or sign up for Obamacare through online exchanges.
Here's what they've seen so far:
Please note that some were edited for length and ease of reading.
- Anne M.: [I'm in] Maryland. I'm having difficulty getting past the online registration screen. I hit send and my browser times out. I'm chalking it up to the computers and will try again in a couple of weeks, figuring I'll have plenty of time. The question I'm most interested in is whether, as a fixed-income senior, I'll be eligible for the expanded Medicaid coverage.
- Marilyn C.: I set up an ID and password Oct. 2, yesterday I put in the application, now I need to get into the website...that is the problem. Michigan has to go directly to the federal website as they did not elect to set up their own. I do know the plans and how much they cost, but I can't log in to pick the one I want.
- Les N.: I tried for over a week [the first week]...still can't get the info I need...I'm in Texas. [Now] not as bad as last week. But I still can't get the info I need, like a price.
- Melinda M.: I was finally able to get on the Maryland Health Connection and check out my options for affordable health care plans and I wasn't surprised to see that all of the plans were more expensive than the one I currently have. [My husband] and I are forced to give up our current plan with BlueCross because apparently our plan isn't in compliance with the ACA (it doesn't cover drug rehabilitation, the horror!). Instead of keeping a plan that we like and is actually affordable ($231/month for the two of us), we get to choose between a variety of worse HMOs that are slightly more expensive than what we currently have, or spend significantly more money for a "comparable" plan. Glad the ACA helps everybody else!
- Alissa M.: [New Jersey] I was trying to get on for the last week and a half, and finally (FINALLY) just got an application today. I have no idea how long it will take to process. [The site] wasn't loading; it would load and then say it had an error, etc. I had to create two different email addresses because after I made the first one, it kept telling me my password was wrong (it wasn't), and wouldn't let me reset it. I tried calling but they told me they were having the same problems people trying to access the system were, so they were basically useless.
- Salvatore Z.: I'm in Pennsylvania...I haven't been able to log in yet...
- Tom F.: Minnesota wait time is under 2 hours. 2 adults, ages 60 and 61. [We have] high blood pressure, $10,000 ($5,000 each) deductible with Obamacare and [the premium] will drop to $275 per month. It's the equivalent of the platinum plan, not the cheapest...you typically pay only for adults, kids are free (unless preexisting conditions, till Obamacare). Kaiser Foundation has information and will give you ballpark figures when Obamacare kicks in. I WAS a teacher with the "Cadillac plan" - almost no deductible, but premiums were in excess of $2,000 monthly. I will retire to fixed income and Obamacare is cheaper than a Medicare supplement. This could eliminate Medicare and we all can carry personal responsibility.
- Elaine B.-I.: I have a friend that just got on California to get a quote and found the cost to be out of her reach - $390 for the cheapest plan. She will not be applying.
- Jacob H.: [Maryland] A week now and I can't even get it to show me prices of plans... my health insurance went up $500 this year. Pages freeze, I click on a "next" link, and it just gives me a spinning wheel and never loads.
Thank you to our readers who shared their experiences with the Obamacare online healthcare exchanges.
As we wait for the "glitches" to get worked out, we've got good news for everyone - regardless of their experience with the exchange.
You see, no matter how Obamacare affects your health, it will undoubtedly affect your wallet.
We've found a way to profit from the shift in our nation's healthcare process. You can get started here.
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