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.”


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.


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.


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.”


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:


But when I hit Continue, everything went gray:


And then I was in Obamacare limbo again:


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


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


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).


(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.