Did Healthcare.gov Just Tell Me to Screw Myself?

Larry Mendte's harrowing journey through the bowels of the Affordable Care Act.

Curious as to how much I could save with the Affordable Care Act, I tried to sign on to www.healthcare.gov to start the application process. As I typed in the address, President Obama was live on TV apologizing to America and promising that the month-long national Obamacare glitchfest nightmare was over.

I had tried to sign on twice before. When I tried three weeks ago, I was just sharing in the collective misery of my fellow Americans. I got a message that due to volume I had to wait. That was at 3 p.m. The message was still there when I went to bed at 11 p.m.

I tried again earlier this week and I got to the page with the button that read “Create Account.” When I clicked it, nothing happened. I tried another computer, and still the button didn’t work. I clicked on the live chat and when I told “Mahmoud” that the button wasn’t working, he first sent a pre-typed message with a long list of solutions to other problems. When I wrote again that the “Create Account” button wasn’t working, he responded that the site was having problems with “glitches.” Yeah, I heard about that somewhere. He promised that “We’ll continue working to improve the site.”


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But that was before my President’s mea culpa and assurance that everything was working now. On my first try post-culpa, the button worked. I chose the name Mendte1 and was instructed to check my email account to confirm my address. Only the email that was sent to me didn’t have a link to confirm my address:

mendte-2When I clicked on the top link, I was sent back to the start page where I had to sign up again.

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I signed back up on the account and, again, the Create Account button didn’t work. Again I clicked “Live Chat,” and this time I got “Sebron.” He instructed me to just sign up again. Only when I did, I was told that “Mendte1” was already taken. I got up to “Mendte4” before I got the right email.

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Wait a minute, “Mahmoud” and “Sebron”? What are the chances that the President, who ferociously accused Mitt Romney of outsourcing American jobs, is outsourcing the “Live Chat” for the Obamacare web site?

I signed back on and got “Julie.” I told her that the last two people I chatted with were named “Mahmoud” and “Sebron” and they weren’t very helpful. I asked if they were located outside of America. The response — “Unfortunately, I am not allowed to tell you where we are located.”

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So the location of the Obamacare insurance exchange help center is a secret? They can’t even tell me what country it is in? The Internet is pregnant with conspiracy theories that the help center is outsourced. There is even audio of a gentleman with an Indian accent who when asked about his location said, “Even if I were American, I am not supposed to tell you.”

The Huffington Post reported in September that the state of Illinois was hiring a firm to outsource its Affordable Health Care call center. If the states are in charge of the call centers, is Pennsylvania paying “Mahmoud” and “Sebron” in Rupees?

That is a question for a follow-up report, as I still have spent all day and night trying to submit my application online so that I can see the available rates for my family.

As the President was telling me everything was going to be all right, I got this message:

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But when I hit Continue, everything went gray:

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And then I was in Obamacare limbo again:

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I signed off and signed back in to get this message:

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When I pressed Individual & Family Coverage, I found out that my application had not been submitted:

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I got glitched!

I started the application process again and was forced to laboriously re-enter much of the information again, including the names and birth dates of my 7- and 9-year-old children.

Then I noticed that my children were now listed twice and there was no way go back and erase the duplicates. The site must have determined I had two sets of twins that I named exactly the same.

I called the toll free number. 1-800-318-2596 or 1-800-F1UCK-YO (no lie).

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(Screen shot doctored for emphasis)

I explained my problem and was immediately asked if I could please hold. I hung up. Eight hours later, the President had left Washington and gave a speech at a steel mill in Cleveland with a renewed promise that he was not giving up Obamacare. But I was. The President was back home and in bed with Michelle and I still have not been able to submit my application.

But, the woman who answered the phone sounded like an American. So we have that going for us.

Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.