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View Diary: Sign up for health care insurance under the ACA (Obamacare) right now in 2 steps (117 comments)

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  •  I am not able to purchase insurance - I am (9+ / 0-)

    unemployed in PA (no Medicaid expansion).  

    But I went to healthcare.gov last week when I heard about the 'see plans now' option just to look around for myself and others.

    One thing that concerns me is that there is no question about smoking.  When I use the kaiser foundation's calculator, they say my smoking surcharge is about $3400 annually.

     How accurate can those prices be at healthcare.gov if they don't ask about smoking?

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 06:21:02 AM PDT

    •  Prices are all but meaningless (13+ / 0-)

      With no age question you may pay half the "estimate" (before subsidy) or you may pay 3x the estimate. And then of course there is the subsidy.

      That feature would have been easy to add right, but they added it wrong.  There never should have been a requirement in the first place to make an account and be vetted before seeing prices. It smacks of the old, secretive, squeeze-the-maximum-out-of-everyone business model of health insurance. Of all the terrible mistakes in implementing the site, that requirement is probably the most catastrophic. It squandered forever the opportunity to make the opening excitement be about the rates and features instead of about the near-impossibility of enrolling through the site. It's just an incredible quadruple facepalm.

      Even now, a week after adding the useless estimator, there is no sign of adding the age factor. This just reinforces the worst steeotypes about congenital government incompetence.

      ------
      Ideology is when you think you know the answers before you know the questions.
      It infests hollow spaces where intelligence has died.

      by Alden on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 06:49:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Maryland web site does it right! (14+ / 0-)

        They have something like five different demographic situations, with varying ages and family compositions, and give the lowest and second lowest prices at the various levels for that family and age situation.  It gives you an idea of the pricing, while still making it clear that your individual situation will be somewhat different.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 07:33:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree they could have done much better, but (11+ / 0-)

        I would think the reason they went the way they did is because they CANNOT provide a subsidy amount without all the info they ask for.,

        people looking at just the premiums, without knowing the subsidies that would help them, suffer sticker shock.

        The RW has jumped on this displaying premiums without acknowledging the subsidies.

        "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

        by MRA NY on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 07:49:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But I meant the rates, not the subsidies (0+ / 0-)

          It's easy to find subsidy calculators. But I've only seen one source for pre-subsidy rates, and it's not a federal or state site.

          You do know the raw rates have about 400-600% variability before subsidies, right, based on age and county.  (Plus possible tobacco surcharge?) There's no such thing as a "normal" rate unless you're a 27-year-old left-handed unicorn born in Aries on a Wednesday.

          People are getting sticker shock anyway, but about a meaningless number.  The only source I can find says my raw rate is 4x what the estimator says. But I have no way to confirm or rebut that.

          ------
          Ideology is when you think you know the answers before you know the questions.
          It infests hollow spaces where intelligence has died.

          by Alden on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:15:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it's catastrophic (16+ / 0-)

        The problems are unfortunate and annoying but not a disaster. I think the idea that "opening excitement" is even an issue is indicative of a culture where everything has to be a marketing event. I blame Steve Jobs. No, not really... but it does seem that people are expecting slickness and perfection in presentation, and focusing on that to the exclusion of everything that is important about the ACA.

        I listened to President Obama's speech in the Rose Garden the other day, and to me what he said rang entirely true. The website is not the whole of the law nor its benefits and value to the people. As someone with employer-provided insurance, I and millions like me have been benefitting from the law for a long time already as our insurance has better coverage and lower out-of-pocket expenses and no caps. And we don't have to worry constantly that losing the job means losing any possibility of having health insurance. Never needed to go near a website for any of those excellent benefits to kick in. They just occurred, as if by "magic" -- unless you're paying attention that is, and know that it happened by the hard work and political efforts of Barack Obama and democrats in congress.

        Now people can actually get insurance, when before they could not -- and they are excited enough by that fact that they are standing in virtual lines, waiting on hold, and looking for help so they can buy it as soon as possible. Long lines be damned, people want this product and are excited about it. A lot of people believe having access to medical care, possibly for the first time, will literally save their life. For others it brings a feeling of relief to know that getting sick or hurt, if it happens, will not automatically lead to a medical bankruptcy and losing pretty much everything, and saddling yourself and/or your family with staggering bills.

        All this means so much and people are up in arms about the website not working right during the first few weeks. It seems really missing the point, to me. I do not agree at all that it's "catastrophic" because the ACA is now cemented as the law of the land. That's great news. The website will be fixed and people will get insurance, and will get medical care. Don't lose sight of that in complaining about the presentation and issues.

        People living in the computer age should be used to this by now. Nothing ever works perfect at rollout. Constant fixes and upgrades are expected. Long lines and early glitches are the norm in big software rollouts even for the most successful and exciting of products. It's only feeding the meme of "incompetent government" if that's what you choose to focus on. But for people who need the insurance and security this law provides it's pretty damn exciting, and I think are willing to be patient with them getting the site fixed so it works. I'm not defending that it should not work better, and done so from the outset -- of course, a lot of new stuff "should be better" -- I'm just saying it is not what truly matters about the law. As President Obama said, we did not fight this battle over a website. The heart of the ACA is what matters and it is happening. I'm excited by that.

      •  I think the diarist needs to edit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alden

        I see no question 6 (how old are you) when I use the feature.  Both you and MRA NY are correct in pointing out that the estimates are worthless without the smoking and age questions, and when I tried it, neither was there.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:29:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You should get medicaid expansion by 2015 in Pa. (4+ / 0-)

      Probably by Allyson Schwartz, although there are several other good candidates.

      •  I am hoping to have a job in NJ next week, (0+ / 0-)

        fingers crossed!  

        if that happens, i will have  health insurance through that.

        (and I expect to move to Jersey in march or april)

        "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

        by MRA NY on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 07:21:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the prices are not accurate (0+ / 0-)

      see my comment below

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