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Please begin with an informative title:

I published a diary three days ago describing my experience in attempting to enroll in a health insurance plan.  I'm sorry to say that, while I'm a little further along, I'm once again stuck.  And I'm still curious to know how things are going for other people in the 36 states which refused to set up their own exchange.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

In the previous diary, I provided a log of my experience to date, which I'm repeating here.

10/6/2013  waiting, waiting.  Eventually managed to register. Email verification email went to junk folder.  Retrieved it and clicked on link.   Evoked Firefox - on which I limit Javascript.  Copied link to Safari, and it returned "Success!" - then threw me back to the Wait page.  Eventually, it threw up signin page.  Entered userid and password, first got "Authenticating ... please wait", then "Downstream error".    And?  WTF am I supposed to do about that?

Futzed around a bit, tried to log in again, and got SYSTEM IS DOWN AT THE MOMENT.  3:12 PM Eastern, Sunday, 10/6.

5:10, Log in.  "We're busy".

10/7, 8:32, log in.  Downstream error.
10/7, 10:52, log in.  We have a lot of visitors on the site right now.  I expect it will eventually make its way to an actual error.
10/7, 11:29.  Yep.  Downstream error.

And since then,
10/7, 21:20.  Tried to log in.  Didn't get blank screen with "Downstream error".  Instead, page came up with various colored areas, and the message "Unexpected error!".  A "please wait" message was accompanied by an orobouros ring;  an arc of light that ate its own tail.  I eventually gave up.

10/8, 13:20.  Tried to log in.  Received page which accepts userid/password.  Entered data, which tried to bring up an eidm.cms.gov site, apparently doing authentication.  Safari shows progress by shading the address; it only shaded as far as "//".  Eventually got "Gateway Timeout   The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.     Reference #1.b4c58f18.1381253106.225296e".

...Tried again.  Oh, boy, it's going to "https://www.healthcare.gov/....  Authenticating!  And... a page which shows "unexpected error", and dumps me back to main page.  I tried to cheat, backing into the page and clicking "buy insurance".  It threw me back to a page for .... initial registration.

...Starting from scratch.  Main page, click on "Log in".  Result?  "We have a lot of visitors on the site right now.".  Sigh.  Ooh, wait, there's the log in!  And... "The information you entered isn't valid".  Note to self; do not attempt to click outside the password area before clicking "login" button.

...Tried again, and - SUCCES- oh, wait.  There's an error on the page.  When I click on "buy insurance", I'm thrown to a page that looks very familiar.  Why?  Because I'm now invited to register.  Again.

...Started over, did NOT log in, clicked "buy insurance" right away, THEN logged in when it brought me to the registration page.  Hooray!  It's starting the verification process.....  Not hooray.  It bitches about me not selecting an answer on a question that didn't even show at first.  Eventually, it tells me I've failed verification.  Do I want to try again?  Sure.  This time, it has the following multiple-choice question:  "According to our records, you bought veterinary insurance for a cat in the last two years.  Was the cat named .... a,b,c, none of the above?  I select "none of the above, because I --- have NOT bought veterinary insurance.  Ever.  BTW, questions about the last 4 digits of phone numbers didn't have any of my numbers, either.  Unsurprisingly, I got the following message:

Your identity wasn't verified.
You won't be able to submit your application for health coverage until your identity is verified.
Call the Experian help desk.

Call (866)-578-5409 to verify your identity over the phone. You'll speak to someone who'll ask you additional questions.
Your code is:  (loooong number, with a few letters thrown in).

Oh, goodie.  My ability to buy health insurance is in the hands of the credit monster corporations  (versus, at some point, the insurance monster corporations).  I called them.  A recorded message told me they were very busy, call back later.  Not wait, but "call back later".  Then it hung up on me.

I particularly enjoyed one page during this clusterstumble.  A yellow box showed up with the question "WAS THIS HELPFUL?", with a radio button for "YES", and... nothing.  There was no "NO" option.  I think the box was displayed in an area with a hard-coded size, a size that was too small to contain the full box.  The left side of the box was a rounded rectangle, but the right side was sharp-edged.  Actually, even the "s' in "yes" was cut in half.  That is certainly not caused by high traffic.  It's simple sloppiness.

10/9. Called Experian a few times.  "too busy".  Hung up on me.


...Finally got through to Experian.  A courteous lady took my name and the long code.  After a few attempts, she told me that she was unable to bring up the code, which she indicated was a common problem.  She explained that they were unable to assist further.  She apologized for sending me back to Healthcare.gov, because she expected that they would instruct me to call Experian back.

...And back to Healthcare.gov I went.  After getting jerked around in a loop for  bit, I managed to get to the point where I was about to apply.  In other words, I was back to "failed verification".  So I invoked the Live Chat.  Here's what happened:

[12:51:44 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.
[12:51:48 pm]:  Please be patient while we're helping other people.
[12:51:53 pm]: Welcome! You're now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is Jeff. To protect your privacy, please don't provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.
[12:52:04 pm]: Jeff
How can I help you
[12:53:30 pm]: tle
My "identity wasn't verified".  I called Experian, and was told that they were unable to call up the code provided.
[12:54:04 pm]: Jeff
I apologize that you are unable to log in to your account at this time. We have a lot of visitors trying to use our website right now. That is causing some glitches for some people trying to create accounts or log in. We'll continue working to improve the site
[12:56:13 pm]: tle
I see no way in which traffic can be relevant to the lack of information on Experian's site. It seems more likely that the transfer of the code was unsuccessful.  How can that information be re-sent to Experian?
[12:57:30 pm]: Jeff
We are processing alot of app right now  and it could take up 7 to 10 days before experian gets the code

To which I responded, "Incredible.  Bye.  (Signing off now)".
OK, that wasn't the nicest goodbye, but it is incredible.  7 to 10 days?  Are we supposed to believe the messages are being sent by turtle?

To repeat from my previous diary; pathetic.

(I've repeated the previous poll, with a reference to verification problems)

Extended (Optional)


For those who definitely want to enroll, or may enroll if it seems a good deal, where do you stand?

3%12 votes
11%37 votes
2%8 votes
3%10 votes
3%10 votes
47%148 votes
11%35 votes
7%25 votes
8%28 votes

| 314 votes | Vote | Results

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