I had success. But it was not as easy as modern Americans expect.
First, I am a licensed insurance person in Tennessee and I was signing up family members. This is a family of five, my child, spouse, and grandchildren.
Short version: I signed in at 4 AM and was finished a little after 5 AM.
It could have been a lot longer, but I was fortunate to have all the answers ready at that hour of the morning.
I only ran into one programming flaw: I could not finish without signing up for dental coverage for one adult. My son will have to decide whether to send the money for that separate policy.
The problem that I am becoming increasingly aware of is that this is a complicated problem which is nearly impossible for people who are not computer literate, or not even financially literate. This is a big job for some human teachers to get people to the point of going through the process.
The questions were not difficult, but there were a lot of them--considering five family members. Without immediate access to the family tax return with all identifying numbers I would have had to save my work and come back another time. Thanks to another Kossak, I had already made a decision to take the silver plan at valuepenguin.com so that part of the process went fast.
Only at the end did I learn some really new and useful information: If your income changes during the year, you should log back into your account as often as necessary to adjust your monthly income. It will change your subsidy. But it will prevent a surprise at the end of the year when the IRS Form 1040 will adjust the annual subsidy and either add or subtract a large amount from your expected tax refund.
Below the fold is my proposed checklist which can be done offline. Once done, the online time at Healthcare.gov will be minimal--but because it is insurance it will still be a time commitment.
Collecting this information all in one place is a risk for identity theft. If this is turned into a worksheet, then guard it carefully.
1. Social security numbers and birthdays and names of all persons in the group to be insured. Use the names as written on the social security cards. ("Name control" is the part that matters: that is, the first four letters of the last name.)
2. Pay stubs or W-2 forms so that you will know the Employer Identification Number of your expected employer next year. Telephone number of present employer.
3. Self-employment is easier than job evidence. Make a good estimate.
4. Policy number(s) for any health insurance presently in effect.
5. Smoking information for all. This will not be checked unless a claim is made. If evidence of unreported tobacco use is in the blood, then the premiums will change drastically.
6. Information about any health insurance you or a family member could get from your job.
7. Have you checked out the options on www.valuepenguin.com? If your decision is made before you log into the .gov website, then things will go a lot faster.