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Survival kit with essential emergency supplies to make food and start a fire.

Survival kit is ready!

Despite all the hiccups, we survived Healthcare.gov and the 2014 health insurance enrollment season.

It’s hard to believe that was a year ago.

I intentionally used the site to purchase my personal health insurance. I wanted my own perspective on the issues.

Sadly (or perhaps thankfully), I won’t be back to Healthcare.gov for Season #2. So I cannot share if the experience is any better than last year.

My state (Idaho) used the federal site for last year’s enrollment. Idaho needed more time to build Your Health Idaho.

For 2015 enrollment, Idaho cut the federal apron strings. They ventured out into the scary world of health insurance enrollment. This is my early review of my experience.

Health Insurance Enroll-over

I imagine one of the earliest hurdles for the state was receiving a transfer of information from federal records.

The goal is to transfer information Healthcare.gov already has so individuals do not have to start from square one.

The following is a series of events for my enrollment.

  • On 11/1/2014, I received a notice my application had been received
  • It contained a link for me to click to review my application and plan choices
  • I clicked − and waited
  • And waited some more
  • It finally timed out and said the link was not valid

Thirteen hours later on the same day, I received an identical letter except it had a different link.

  • I clicked on the link
  • The message informed me it was invalid
  • I also received a message to return to the site November 15

Holiday Stress

I was dealing with Mom’s Medicare mess and juggling my work projects before leaving for two weeks, starting 11/13.

I tried the links again on 11/16 after I reached my destination.

Same result − invalid.

I sent an email from my friend’s San Diego home about the problems with the links. I then went on my merry little, 3-Day, 60-Mile Walk for the Cure.

I thought surely this would be straightened out when I returned − although I never received a reply to my 11/16 email.

Hope springs eternal.

Seeing Double

On 11/25, I received two emails with links to two identical 2015 Enrollment Notice letters from Your Health Idaho.

The notices were passive enrollment letters.

  • Passive enrollment means you are automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan
  • Sounds simple, right?

One problem. I wanted to check other options.

  • I called Your Health Idaho to ask how I could check my options without starting from scratch
  • The 2015 Enrollment Notice only gave instructions for signing up for a different plan
  • It instructed you to terminate the plan they automatically re-enrolled you in

Second problem. I don’t know if I want to do that without checking my other options.

The customer service representative (CSR) said I should have received an email with a link to my specific application and profile.

  • Yes, I did
  • Twice
  • Both links did not work

I advised the CSR I had emailed about the problem but had not heard back.

  • The CSR created a ticket to escalate the problem
  • It would take up to 48 hours (excluding non-business days) to receive my new link

53 Hours and 55 Minutes and Counting

*Sigh* I see another customer service call in my future.

And did I mention I am still waiting on information for my mother’s Medicare mess?

Health insurance. Gotta love it.

UPDATE: After being on hold for technical support for 1 hour, 2 minutes and 58 seconds, I was told: 1) there is no way to resend a link (wonder how they managed to do it twice before) and ~

2) there is no way to “shop around” without first dis-enrolling in the plan I’m in since I was passively enrolled. I was told if I dis-enrolled, then shopped around and decided to stay in the plan I’m in, I could re-enroll in it.

Can you spell efficient? Not.

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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

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