Halle-freaking-lujah, the Obamacare Web site makeover ROCKS

Halle-freaking-lujah, the long-awaited makeover of the Obamacare Web site ROCKS.

Three clicks and anyone can browse health care plans – in detail, and with prices.

No more having to create an account simply in order to browse plans.

No more having to have Homeland Security give you a prostate exam before approving you to simply browse plans.

The revamp of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) federal exchange site is exactly what they needed to do. It’s even easier than the DC exchange (and the DC one is great).

We’ve written before about the problems we (Becca and I both) personally had navigating the federal exchange.  While the DC exchange worked quite well – you simply had to create a user name and password before you could browse plans – the federal site was a nightmare. You had to go through a long process to create an “application,” simply to browse plans.  Then you had to wait several days for the application-to-browse to be approve by angry little gnomes locked in the basement of HHS.

The new site? Click 3 buttons. That’s it.

Let me walk you through how easy the new Obamacare Web site actually is.

Page 1 – The Federal Exchange home page

The federal health care exchange home page is now short and simple, 3 options, making it very clear what you can do with the site.

For our purposes, I chose option 1, “see plans before I apply.”

federal-exchange-web-site-page-1

Page 2 – The new federal exchange info request

If you click on “see plans before I apply” on the home page, you end up on this page, which asks you a few simple questions that take all of under-3o-seconds to answer.

Federal-exchange-web-site-page-2

Page 3: The Obamacare federal exchange plans

I filled out page 2 quickly, then landed on this final page with the plans, in detail, prices and all.  It was that simple.

federal-exchange-web-site-page-3

I’m actually surprised how well the makeover went. This is perfect.  It’s everything I wanted, but admittedly not everything I expected.

There was no reason to require people to “apply” simply to browse plans.  And for those who were worried that people might get sticker-shock at the prices of the plans, while not realizing that they might get federal subsidies to pay for the plans, each plan has a very clear notice that “prices will be lower if you quality for help paying for coverage. Read more.”

Whoever designed that first site deserves a firing squad.  Whoever designed this makeover deserves a medal.

Let the GOP mock the Affordable Care Act federal exchange now.  This thing rocks.*

(*Of course, I’m only reviewing the first half of the site – browsing plans. I look forward to hearing from folks about how the second half, “applying” for coverage – actually using the site to purchase the plans – goes.)


(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • 1973m

    Its funny how when the website first rolled out and was a complete failure all i heard from the left was to be quiet because it was”just the website” So now that the website, which to many many on the left was not a big deal, is improving its all high fives and back slaps. Its amazing what a half a billion dollars of our money will buy. Hey now that the website works we will truly be able to see what a complete and utter failure this garbage piece of legislation is. When few young and healthy sign up and are left with the old sick and those who get it for free lets see how much high fiving is
    going on.

  • Bob

    Are you stuck on the enrollmnent to do list with the locked icons? You need to double click the green set boxto move forward.

  • John Rodgers

    6 times in 3 weeks!!! Really ??? Oh what a relief it is!!
    OR are you really wiping your sweaty forehead in great relief that finally some of that 600 million dollars is finally putting some text and pictures on your screen?
    You should call CNN and tell them how to do that without a glitch on national television.

  • John Rodgers

    You’re not supposed to be an American. Why would you even care?
    Do you remember your comment reply to me in another post?
    You deleted most of them because it was too easy to spot you for the liar you are (WHAT A COWARD)

  • John Rodgers

    You are one of the lucky few. I’ve already heard the HHS Mandate has made insurance rise for the majority of men cancelled for their existing policies not covering pre and post natal care wether they’re having children or not. In my case, where hopefully my insurance is not dropped, my fiancé is even incapable of having children (she’s had a hysterectomy).
    We as a couple have been satisfied with our existing “You can keep it” healthcare for at least the past 20 (25 for myself), and I hope if we’re to change that we may be one of those so called lucky few with lower rates as well, but I DOUBT IT.

  • John Rodgers

    Funny, CNN still can’t even get through without an error, and on national television to boot.
    I see you’ve deleted commentary on some of the conservative sites you like to frequent.
    I guess it’s easy to be a liberal coward.

  • jea

    Maybe the site just doesn’t let you on. Must be a conspiracy. People have been signing up on the site so I really don’t understand why you think I sound stupid. The blogs are filled with accounts of people signing up. They’re also filled with horror stories of the site not working well. Right, we all knew that. It’s awful software but it’s eventually going to work very well. I use several federal benefits and financial websites and they all work beautifully. People should be held accountable for the waste of money, poor design strategy (45 some odd contractors working on the site and most software engineers I’ve talk to say any more than 5 people on the team results in a less than optimal piece of software), and terrible rollout, but it will eventually work well. Then what will you blame on Obama?

  • Dakotahgeo

    I’d say wtf2 is ‘pullin’ our leg,’ lolol. Actually, most parts of the country have been problem free, other parts not so much. They’re working on it and it will be running smoothly over the next 2-3 weeks… have no doubt. Actually, I’ve signed on to the ACA website 5-6 times with no trouble so I don’t know what the complaining is all about. Some people just ain’t happy anyhow or no how!

  • Dakotahgeo

    LOLOL… sorry to disappoint cha! You may be a Democrat wannabe, but you don’t come close to common sense, much less intelligence. Be gone, silly guy! ;-)

  • wtf2

    Actually, I’m a Democrat. I’m hoping you’re not as it would be an embarrassment to the party.

  • wtf2

    You do realize your comment makes no sense, right? You cite your “friend” signing up up over a month ago as evidence that the site works in the present, when even Obama acknowledged in October that the site wasn’t working. So was Obama misinformed when he said that the site wasn’t working or was he lying? Lying to make himself look bad? Do you realize how stupid you sound?

    The site won’t let a registered user sign on. That’s a fundamental problem.

    Continue on in your delusional world.

  • perljammer

    Actually, I did respond to what you wrote about applying by phone or mail; my response is in the first paragraph of my first reply to you. The reason you should, in my humble opinion, read the article for which I supplied a link, is so you can learn that applying by phone or by mail does not bypass the web site at all, contrary to what you said. But you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to — nobody’s holding a gun to your head.

    “Holding a gun to your head” means “Using threats to force you to do what I want”. As in, “Buy health insurance or I’ll make you pay a penalty.” If you’d like to verify that definition, here’s a link: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/gun. The one you’re looking for is about a third of the way down the page.

    I’ll grant that the bank robbing analogy was extreme and strained. Life is full of examples where law or rule requires you to behave in a prescribed manner, but you can opt not to do so, at peril of the associated penalty. Park next to a hydrant? Pay a fine. Fail to return a library book? Pay overdue fees. Write a bad check? Pay an overdraft fee (or go to jail, if it’s a really big check). Late with a credit card payment? Pay a late fee and get your credit dinged. These are all cases where someone is threatening you with an undesirable outcome if you don’t do what they want you to do, and that is exactly what the idiom “holding a gun to your head” means.

    If you really want to know what the law says, as opposed to making up something you’re comfortable with, I suggest you read Section 5000A, “REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE”, starting on page 126 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here’s how it starts: “(a) REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE.-—An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month.” The rest of the section is mostly concerned with the consequences attached to failing to meet that requirement.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s what people just don’t get. I mean, let’s suppose worst case scenario: A $6000 hospital bill, but one literally doesn’t have that much. Six grand is something that can be handled in a payment plan. A fraction of the cost of a new car.

    $20k? $100k? More? At that point, it starts turning into guaranteed bankruptcy, as opposed to ‘merely possible.’

    My biggest fear during the eight years when I was without insurance was that I’d get sick or have an accident and suddenly my wife and I would be penniless. Or worse, I’d die and my only legacy to her would be crippling debt.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah… lol.

  • jea

    “As for the rest of your message … I’m sorry, but you went off the deep end, and I’m not going with you.”

    Let me translate for those playing along at home: “I have no reply so I will make a personal attack, take my ball and go home.”

    “Saying “words have meaning” does not give you license to give new meanings to phrases with long-established interpretations.”

    Strawman. I did no such thing.

    “Regarding applying by phone or with paper forms, I suggest you calm down and actually read the article for which I supplied a link in my last reply.”

    I’m perfectly calm. You wouldn’t be projecting now would you? So, you won’t even read or respond to what I wrote yet I should go read some article you linked to? You claim I went off the deep end (but provide no examples of how I accomplished this feat) but I should read whatever you link to? It doesn’t work that way. It’s give and take. Mutual respect. You clearly have your mind made up and nothing I could possibly write would convince you otherwise. So, why is it again I should read the link you provided?

    “Saying no one is forced to buy insurance is like saying no one is forced not to rob banks.”

    Huh? That’s an absurd analogy. Care to take another stab at it or is that your final answer? The bottom line is that you’re not forced to buy anything. Period. What you are claiming simply isn’t true. You can, indeed, opt out. You should be more precise with your language. You should have said, the law requires everyone to be insured, unless they opt out or one of the other exceptions apply (Medicaid, etc.). You’re just wrong. Why not admit it?

    “You can absolutely opt to rob a bank, as long as you’re willing to pay the associated penalty.”

    Yes, such a perfect analogy. A criminal act punishable by life in prison is perfectly equivalent to opting out of health insurance and paying a monetary penalty. And, I’m off the deep end? ; )

  • Cathryn Sykes

    My current plan with BCBS? (Yes, I’m signing up with ACA and getting a better deal.) I had a tumor removed from my throat two years ago. MINOR SURGERY. Cost? $20,000. I ended up paying $6000 of that in deductibles and copays. Not cheap, but a hell of a lot better than $20,000. Insurance is not designed to let you pay nothing; it’s designed to let you get what you need without going broke! I had one idiot on FB say that she didn’t need insurance because she wouldn’t rack up costs over $6000 “if my head exploded!” Well, if she had a major stroke, I can guarantee she’d rack up costs way over $6,000! There are some idiots who think that because they’ve never been sick or never been in an accident—and they don’t smoke, aren’t obese and in good health–they’ll never need to pay health costs. Think again, people. And despite what that idiot female GOP politician said, doctors and hospitals will NOT accept chickens for their fees!

  • Cathryn Sykes

    Whenever anyone pitches the “it’s now more expensive for most people!” line, I know that they’re pushing the classic half-truth-twisted-into-a-whole-lie so beloved of the right…..because they are totally and, I’m sure, deliberately, disregarding the subsidies and tax credits. The GOP has done that from Day One. If I even get close to what I estimate I’ll pay, I’m going to be paying 30% less than I pay now, for better coverage.

  • Number Six

    Yeah, but — Benghazi!!!
    :P

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Aye, and in that the development company that created the Healthcare.gov website should be sued, fined, and have their perpetual gov’t services contract canceled.

    I’ve been in tech and web services long enough to know it’s not easy to create a robust commerce site. But at the same time, it’s not like they were trying to reinvent the wheel here in terms of how to handle a high volume of users. Plus I go back to my original observation/complaint to say it was clear they didn’t think at all about process flow and what it would mean in terms of usability and server loads.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    In general, web users are a fickle lot. We’re so used to sites like Facebook, Google, eBay, Amazon, that are efficient and effective, and where errors are unusual, that nobody understands how something could be so badly botched.

  • perljammer

    Saying “words have meaning” does not give you license to give new meanings to phrases with long-established interpretations.

    Regarding applying by phone or with paper forms, I suggest you calm down and actually read the article for which I supplied a link in my last reply.

    Saying no one is forced to buy insurance is like saying no one is forced not to rob banks. You can absolutely opt to rob a bank, as long as you’re willing to pay the associated penalty.

    As for the rest of your message … I’m sorry, but you went off the deep end, and I’m not going with you.

  • jea

    Your mistake, of course, is to believe that everyone who even partially defends the ACA or the Healthcare.gov improvements is an Obama lover. I’m not. He’s much too conservative for my taste and I’m a single payer advocate so the ACA wouldn’t have been my solution. But, the site now has about a 90% success rate and it’s getting better every day. So, you’re just not being honest.

  • jea

    My best friend signed up in under an hour over a month and a half ago so you’re either misinformed or lying. Which is it?

  • jea

    No, the definition of having a gun to your head is if you couldn’t opt out and someone had a gun to your head. Words have meaning. And, there is no indication that the website doesn’t function well enough to allow you to download an application to fill out and submit or to find the phone number to call. Try it for yourself. Works just fine. And, if you do go directly to an insurance company you still get the subsidy if you qualify. The only reason you wouldn’t is if the insurance company fails to inform you. And I suppose that is Obama’s fault too? I’m not a fan of the ACA. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was better than the GOP alternative which was to do nothing. Your rhetoric is over the top. No one is forcing you to buy health insurance. You don’t like it, opt out. We’ve been paying big time for the uninsured for decades. If we’re going to have a for-profit healthcare system then everyone needs to be insured. You know, personal responsibility like the GOP is always touting. In fact, this was their plan. They offered it an an alternative to Hillarycare. They loved it before. Wonder why they don’t anymore? Gee, I dunno. Anyone? :face palm:

  • perljammer

    The “you don’t have to use the website” line is getting a bit tired, because for the most part it just isn’t true. The only way you can avoid the website is by going directly to an insurance company instead of using the Marketplace. If you do that, it’s not clear that you will get any subsidy you may be eligible. If you sign up on the phone, or via snail mail using paper forms, someone is going to have to enter your information into the system, and the only vehicle for doing that is the website. This has been documented and discussed over and over, but some people seem to have trouble digesting it. See, for example, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obamacare-glitches-paper-phone-applications-98872.html

    And oh yes, you can opt out and pay the penalty. So some poor schmuck making $35,000 a year can pay $350 the first year, $700 the second year, $750 the third and subsequent years (with adjustments for cost of living!); and not get any insurance at all; that’s a great option. Aside from that, there’s the little detail that it does nothing at all to address the reason we have ACA in the first place, which is to get as many people insured as possible.

    As far as the “gun to your head” thing — we have a Federal law that says everyone must have health insurance. If you choose not to comply, you will be assessed a penalty that becomes increasingly onerous over time. That is the very definition of having a gun to your head.

  • ezpz

    Lets compare the failures of Bush and Obama.

    Why? Does that actually solve anything or is it a party insider’s way to distract and deflect from this monstrosity of a law? To the ‘vast majority’ of us, it really doesn’t matter who is a worse (or better) failure. This law has created an entire bloc of voters who will shun anyone who voted for it or who is now trying to defend it.

  • jea

    Baloney. My best friend signed up in under 45 minutes and this is BEFORE the recent fixes. There are still some bugs but it is improving rapidly and will be running near perfectly soon. As for security, you submit no private health information (except whether you smoke or not) and there is very little information required to sign up. Are you aware of vast breaches of security or are you just repeating what Marsha Blackburn said when she conflated HIPAA with the Privacy Act, deliberately no doubt. You have better odds of having your private information stolen at your bank than you do on the healthcare.gov site. Just stop.

  • jea

    No one has a gun to your head to buy health insurance either. You can opt out and pay the penalty, sign up on the phone, or sign up via snail mail. Everyone acts as if healthcare.gov IS the ACA. It isn’t. Just one piece of it, albeit quite flawed at rollout but improving daily.

    This is all going to seem so absurd within the next couple of months. I use several federal websites to manage my FEHB plan, my TSP (401(k) for federal employees), my insurance and other benefits and they all work flawlessly. I was the attorney and personal representative for my mother’s estate and had to deal with and use SS and Medicare websites and deal with federal workers at those agencies and they both were efficient, fast, and courteous. They were infinitely easier to deal with than with the private supplemental health insurance company with which my mom had a policy. They were a royal pain, always trying to deny claims, include charges that were erroneous and giving me more than enough attitude when I called to straighten things out.

    But, bottom line: There is no gun to your head to buy anything.

  • jea

    Thanks John. Good post.

  • Rob

    My jaw dropped when I read your account about signing up in DC. I agree, I probably would get better plans in MD than DC. I do feel lucky to have a good broker, who found me a plan really close to the Aetna plan which is being terminated, for essentially the same cost as I had been paying for the past 18 months. It took me under 5 minutes to enroll for my new plan on the new company’s website.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    *shrugs* Perhaps, but I know I get into that mindset of frustration myself — and have been there even with this very topic. There soon develops a resistance even to hearing suggestions or workaround ideas, much less to pay attention to what’s actually being said versus what I mistakenly assume I’m hearing.

    “Forget it, f*ck this, it’ll never work” = words that have crossed my own lips many times.

    So anyway, I’m trying to be sympathetic to others’ frustration as well.

  • Dakotahgeo

    In just the last 3 weeks, I’ve logged on with no problems at least 6 times… no problems. I think some of these whiners just go to the website and if it works, they go berserk! Poor fellas!

  • Dakotahgeo

    Yada, yada, yada… and we are sooo scared. Go to bed before the sky starts falling!

  • Dakotahgeo

    I can only hope you lose your health insurance, can get no other, and face a serious health incident. Maybe that will take your mind off of Obama!

  • Dakotahgeo

    Coming from a party who can’t brush their teeth w/o video instructions, I’d advise you to be reeeeal quiet, bufa face!

  • Dakotahgeo

    I can’t wait to hear what the right wing conservative lunatics will come up with next to complain about! Maybe their Cheerios aren’t round enough, or some such silly game. I cannot wait for 2014/2016 to clean the GOTPers out of Washington, DC, completo!!!

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I’m still waiting for the liberal part to show up.

  • wtf2

    Anyone who says the site is working is lying. The site can still not perform the basic function of letting a registered user sign in. I registered several weeks ago but could not sign in because the site did not recognize my password, even though I was giving it the correct password. I eventually gave up and asked for a new password. I got an email with a link, when I clicked the link I was taken to the site and quickly got an error message: “Important. We cannot process your request.” Eventually I gave up trying to sign on. Yesterday and today I tried again and got the same error message. The chat help told me to download an application and mail it in or call the 800 line. When I call the 800 line there’s a 15 minute wait.

    What a colossal joke. What an embarrassment for liberalism–and a particularly ironic one at that since Obamacare is a Republican “market-based” solution. And now we have more Obots running around saying the site is working. Pathetic. I knew Obama was incapable of upholding the Rule of Law regarding Wall Street, but I’m still surprised he was so incompetent at rolling out his signature “achievement” Obamacare.

  • perljammer

    C’mon, John. No one has a gun to their head to buy anything from Best Buy.

  • john

    Only the Obama loving idiots think that the plans and site rocks! Wake up idiots! It now cost smore for the majority trying to get insured and as the lies that Obama has spread just to get reelected is now becoming more evident that even those who reelected him are having regrets — only the die hard idiots love the LIAR OBAMA!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, I know. Hate ‘em. Really not happy they may buy out the network I’m just about to join.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Except, those of us who have had BCBS know what shyster basta**s they are.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This is worth a major follow up—-would be a great scoop.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As John says, deductibles can be complicated. It all depends on what phrasing follows it.

    There are some plans where they pay nothing at all except the bare minimum required by PPACA (such as certain preventive care visits and tests which are supposed to be free now), until you’ve paid the entire deductible. Then the insurance kicks in. These tend to be the terms with catastrophic, Bronze, and some Silver level plans.

    There are others that have defined benefits and/or co-insurance and/or co-pays that cover services even before the deductible has been paid. For example, in my new plan, supposedly I can have up to 20 chiropractor visits a year (in-network) for $25 a session. Since the brochure did not say “after deductible has been met,” I believe I can assume it’s covered right out of the gate. That $25 is my co-pay. I’ll also have $10 co-pays for routine (but not preventive care) doctor’s visits — such as, say, I get a sinus infection or something and need antibiotics.

    But again, taking my own plan as an example, let’s say I have appendicitis. I end up at the hospital emergency room. From what I’ve read, that’s a $250 flat fee for me (which goes towards my yearly ‘out-of-pocket’ maximum. My deductible is $750/year. That means I’m on the hook for 100% of that $750. After that though, grossly oversimplifying, let’s say my hospital bill is $10,750. Of the remaining ten grand, since my co-insurance is 15%. So on that, I’d be responsible for $250 (emergency room) + $750 + $1500, or $2500. My out-of-pocket maximum is $4000/year, which means after another $1500 in general medical expenses, my co-insurance would drop to 0%.

    In summary, a plan with a $6k deductible would be pretty close to a ‘catastrophic’ plan — except for the extras of routine care. Especially since a deductible that high will be close to the out-of-pocket maximum.

  • Whitewitch

    it is the one upside to be a wage drudge!!!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Don’t use the same email address. And you have to pick a new login ID.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    Becca,
    That doesn’t work even if you get the telephone people to create the profile. I’m effectively frozen out too. I have no idea how many hours it will take to resolve the issue.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    A good start, but God only knows when I will actually be able to sign up for one of those plans

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Likewise, Whitewitch. Hope you had a good holiday weekend, too.

    And yes… the lack of benefits has been one of the reasons that if my current favorite consulting client offered me a permanent position, I’d have a hard time turning them down. Being in business for myself is a royal pain at times.

  • Whitewitch

    That is so wonderful. Glad for now I have employer coverage…hope it stays that way. One good thing about be a wage worker is the benefits. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I think you’re definitely on to something there. The other additional possibility is they were using these ‘better’ plans as teasers. So you sign up with Blue Cross, coverage goes bye-bye after just a few months. How much you want to bet people will just say, “oh well, there’s nothing to be done, I’ll take this other plan BC is offering me.”

    And yes — lots will believe Blue Cross when they claim the lousier plan is due to Obamacare, and not because Blue Cross was behaving like they usually do: Like the health insurance equivalent of used car salesmen.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Me too. As I recounted in another post, my premiums will be a hundred bucks less for coverage better than I was getting in the temporary PPACA high-risk pool.

    I’m pretty happy.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Wellllll, while I do give some credit for PPACA, let’s not call it “universal healthcare.” It’s “Medicaid expansion” (and this is really, really huge) and “guaranteed-issue health insurance with substantial subsidies for low and low-middle income earners.”

    Universal healthcare would be every American gets a Medicare card — done.

    I would also compare PPACA with Bush’s ‘Medicare Part-D’ expansion. The latter wasn’t entirely bad once they began patching the holes in it, but the worst aspect was that unlike PPACA, Medicare Part-D had no funding at all. They just glommed it onto the expenditures. PPACA however was paid for through funding re-allocations and tax increases.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Start over with a new email address. Seriously. Just use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or anything. Nearly all of those services have an option to forward anything received to a different email address.

    I looked at my old, original “pending verification” login from the 1st week in October. It’s still stuck there.

    So dump your old login and start again.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s been cited as one of the reasons the original site crashed so badly: The system required even the ‘lookie-loos’ to go through the entire sign-up process just to look at plans. Hence there were probably hundreds of thousands of people who had no intention of actually enrolling. Or who didn’t even qualify to enroll.

    And each step was like, “Okay, now I can look… no, wait, I have to fill in income estimates?” Ye olde rabbit hole, as it were, the deeper you went, the deeper it still had to go.

    I’m glad I managed finally to get my enrollment done on the old system, but it’s clear they’ve alleviated nearly every one of my complaints.

  • Bosco

    Like hell they can. Not if they a) actually want an insurance policy ISSUED or b) value the security of their private information.

  • Bosco

    Hell-Freaking-No! The Obamacare web site IS NOT FIXED and does not rock. My application has been complete for roughly 6 weeks. Today, 12/2/13, I still am not allowed to click on the “Enroll” step. I am “locked out”, as has been the case since October. So the cluster-you-know-what that is Obamacare continues. Fear Dems will pay for this b.s. in the midterms.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But when did you get it? The only time I was able to get “better” insurance was in the few years since Obamacare passed. Before that, no chance in hell. I had the “best” PPO Blue Cross offered in Dc. The, after Obamacare passed, suddenly better plans were being offered, pans that went poof the day Obamacare was implemented this coming January. To me, that suggests that this was planned by the insurance companies from the beginning – offer really good plans that they knew they were going to pull, in order to turn people against health care reform. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the insurance companies have offered these plans BEFORE Obamacare passed? I’d like to know more about whether these plans were offered BEFORE Obamacare passed, because my ‘better plans’ most definitely were not.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Brilliant catch. Just wrote a new post on this, and credited you. Good job.

    http://americablog.com/2013/12/video-shows-cnns-mistake-crashed-obamacare-web-page.html

  • Whitewitch

    Ahhh Voltaire …

    That is a wise quote – yet not one which I would apply to the ACA. Seems as if the middle class it safe for now in this plan – IF you have a job with insurance coverage you might be okay – if they have to pay for insurance I think you are screwed because they won’t get the subsidies.

    And I, like others, am confused by insurance in general and yet when I see premiums of several hundred dollars a month, and deductibles of $6,000 a year – I wonder what that really means to the poor..can you really get sick if you have a huge deductible and not be financially crushed.

  • Whitewitch

    I am surprised the thing hasn’t crashed with all the Lookie-Loos. Seems as if just the people that need it were playing on it, rather than every reporter in the universe – it might be better as well.

    Anyway – glad it is working and looking pretty as well. Glad people can look at the plans – sounds like they might have found an actual programmer to fix this bad boy!.

  • jea

    The website told him that his transaction was in progress but he refreshed it. Why did he do that? Every website tells you not to hit refresh once something is in progress. I’d be surprised if this one didn’t. I might not, but i would be surprised. In any event, if he didn’t know that he’s been living almost, if not entirely, offline.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, Best Buy crashed today too, so we’d better shut them down.

    As for CNN, funny you didn’t bother mentioning the rest of the story…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Again, it’s complicated, but a point-of-service plan I’m considering in DC has no deductible in network, and visits to my primary doctor are free as are preferred generics. But, it means changing my primary, and possibly limiting other things, like which docs I can go to as specialists in IL or wherever too, so I’m still not sure if I’m going to do it, but I might.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, I was quite surprised how well DC did it. I still suspect that you might get better plans in MD than DC. Having said that, I’m surprised to say that my IL plans, that I glanced at (were I to still live in IL) seemed worse than the best DC ones – though it’s nearly impossibly to compare any insurance plans, they’re all so complicated.

  • perljammer

    Usually if there is no copayment, then there is coinsurance. For example, the total fee for an office visit might be $60. If you have a $10 copayment, your cost is $10; if you have a 20% coinsurance and no copayment, your cost is $12. For most (if not all; I don’t know) plans, the deductible doesn’t apply to normal office visits and prescriptions, but copayments and coinsurance payments apply to your out of pocket maximum.

    I haven’t noticed any plans that have neither copayment or coinsurance. If such plans exist, I hope it means that office visits and generic prescriptions are completely covered (no out of pocket expense), because the alternative (patient pays full freight for everything until the deductible is met) sounds awfully expensive.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, but I think it’s Wile E. Coyote you’re looking for. :)

    The beltway press is deaf, dumb and blind. They have been so bad at their jobs over the last twenty years, it is absolutely astounding that anyone pays any attention to them any more. If I was that terrible at my job, I’d have died in the gutter a long time ago… but in Washington DC, failure begets failure. Incompetence encourages incompetence. It’s all one big happy circle jerk, accomplishing nothing useful to the American people.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    You still have to pay for any actual treatment or activity the doctor takes. You just don’t pay for the basic office visit. Most doctors have a flat fee for a visit/consultation. Around here, it’s usually about $60 bucks for a general practitioner, about $150 for a specialist. As far as I understand it, and have experienced it, that’s the part that is waived by your insurance. Then if you have some basic blood work done, another $30, if you have an EKG, another $50, etc. All those extra costs are when your deductible kicks in.

    Another thing that fools a lot of people is thinking the deductible is all you’ll ever have to pay out of pocket, which generally isn’t the case – and I would imagine isn’t the case with most plans. After you meet your deductible out of pocket, then the insurance company begins to pay a percentage of anything beyond. You’re still responsible for the remainder, which is still more than capable of bankrupting someone if they happen to get very sick or are badly injured. If if your insurance company covers 50% or 60% of a $30,000 hospital stay, how many average working Americans are going to be able to just fork over that kind of cash?

    The plans I have available to me are pretty much what I already have… but I’ve been on the private market for a long time, and did a lot of shopping around in the first place. The best I could do from healthcare.gov is lower my deductible by $500, and pay slightly more per month. Which I don’t think I will be bothering with. As is, my dental and vision coverage is going up this year.

  • Rob

    The Maryland site still appears to force you to enroll before you can get side-by-side cost comparisons. That is not good at all. It’s also rather complicated to navigate.

    I’ve already gotten a plan, outside of the exchange, through the broker I have through my Aetna plan which is ending. I went to the federal site and looked at plan costs in Alexandria and Fairfax County, in under 30 seconds.

    John’s success story in rapidly enrolling through the DC exchange is the first time I have ever said, since I moved out of DC 25 years ago, “I wish I lived in DC”.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Lets compare the failures of Bush and Obama.

    Bush spent in excess of $3 Trillion invading a country that was not a threat to the US. He killed between half a million and a million people as a result and spent six years ineffectually trying to mitigate the worst of the damage he caused. Democrats tried to end the debacle sooner but never tried to make the debacle worse.

    Obama established universal healthcare despite scorched earth opposition and in many cases outright sabotage by the Republican party. The Web site roll out was initially botched but a month later the consumer facing side of the site was essentially fixed. Nor did Obama let the urgent domestic political issue stand in the way of equally urgent but longer term foreign policy objectives such as coming to an agreement with Iran on halting their nuclear program.

    Bush got a free ride on Iraq because the establishment media did not dare offend the warmongers among their readers. Which is why the botched response to Katrina had such an effect, the press suddenly got the nerve to criticize Bush for being incompetent. And once everyone agreed the response to Katrina had been incompetent they were ready to hear the hard truth about the Iraq war. Or in cartoon terms, Willie Coyote looked down and saw he had walked off the end of the cliff, splat.

    I wish some of the journalists who are speculating on the damage this might do to Obama would consider the damage that their deliberate acts of sabotage may have don the GOP. I think that there will be a lot of people who were denied the extension of Medicare because of evil Republican governors and the parasitical Koch brothers who are very angry about the situation. And there will be a lot of attack ads showing the people that the GOP political gamesmanship has killed.

    Its the same story on the economy. I don’t consider predictions based on the state of the economy in previous elections to be very useful because in previous elections there was a general understanding that both parties were trying to make the situation better. I don’t think voters give politicians credit for disasters they have caused themselves through obstruction.

    2016 could turn out to be a rout for the Republican party.

  • emjayay

    Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

  • nicho

    And this is what America has come to. People who consider themselves progressives cheering because it’s now easier to be ripped off by rapacious insurance corporations in what is, without doubt, the worst healthcare system in the developed world — by far. We are so doomed.

  • emjayay

    I also actually don’t get what a $6000 a year deductible means in a plan with no copayments for doctors or generic prescriptions or ER visits. And I would add a regular hospital stay cost summary to the copayments list. My insurance company lists that on the comparing plans summary.

  • emjayay

    This is what I, a total non-expert, have been saying it should have been in the first place, without the benefit of all the planning and documents and meetings etc. that must have gone into it or even thinking about it for more than a minute.

    If the hard parts weren’t ready they could have just put up the See Plans part, which would have been relatively easy to code anyway, and included a subsidy estimate calculator, and said you can shop now and buy later. This would have given people something that worked and given them time to think about it. And guaranteed that there would be something to put up on October first, even if the rest of it wasn’t ready.

    Some people must have been arguing for the obvious, and someone at or near the top of the department made a stupid decision. And then when it was obvious that it wasn’t working, another equally stupid decision to put it up anyway. Whoever it is, and it may have been Sibelius, they should have been publicly removed from their job already. Obama has as usual looked undecisive and only apologetic in all of this.

    I would only fault the graphics. It should have a federal look, even if only subtly. Not in a scary Big Government Washinton DC way. Maybe a fadeout flag flapping in the wind background. And the text could probably be edited down a bit.

  • chris10858

    I just tried browsing the plans myself and it works great! The pages loaded fast and there were no hiccups. I think for many people who have employer-based health insurance but who want to get on just to see what it would cost them, this will satisfy their curiosity.

    Im sure Republicans will now complain that with only three “buttons” on the main page from which to choose, Obama is limiting Americans choices. They will call for dozens of more buttons to be added. LOL

  • TonyCap


    Yep, that’s fix, based on Obama standards, at least.

  • lynnguist

    Like so many, I got better insurance without deductibles for MuCH less than before. MuCH less!

  • HereinDC

    Republicans are S C R E W E D…that put all their eggs into one bakset of riditculing the ACA..thinking it that would carry them on the 2014 November Elections…….whle they kept on demeaning Latinos, women, gays, blacks.

  • bdcstrong1

    Biden/Clinton 2016 campaign slogan: “You idiots will believe anything we say!” and please remember that ObamaCare “is the law of the land…”, well maybe sometime in the future kind of, could be, well I think I’ll just give another speech, OK… President Oblamo 2013

  • Indigo

    Good to know!

  • Lawerence Collins

    Go to Moveon.org, sign my petition to get real success stories of the ACA out! I’m recently out of the hospital, two weeks today. If it weren’t for the ACA and the opt in Medicaid expansion, instead, I’d just be waiting to die! These stories need to get out to combat all the lies being told daily by the Koch. Bro’s. and the GOP!

  • climate3

    Shhh! Not so loud, John. You’ll ruin the doom and gloom narrative that SOME folks have already forecast for the site.

  • bicyclemark

    Glad to know it. Of course the jokes and negative references will carry on for what.. a year? But at least those who care and need it can now go to the website with confidence.

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