Problem: Within my insurer (I don't know about other companies, but here is an invitation for some enterprising reporter to find out) apparently the Exchange plans are handled separately from the non-Exchange plans, using different teams of people. This causes massive confusion and raises barriers to communication.
Solution: Shouldn't any employee be able to access any information needed to solve any customer problem? Make it so! This factor alone accounted for at least 75% of the runaround I got.
Problem: Before signing up with this company, I verified that my primary care physician was listed on its provider page. I got the web address for that provider page from materials I downloaded from Healthcare.gov. But as it turns out, the company’s list of Exchange policy providers is very different from its list of non-Exchange providers. The lists do not overlap in every place. I'm not sure they overlap in any place.
Solution: The company should list its Exchange providers on a separate, clearly labeled web page. Materials provided by the Healthcare.gov site should lead only to such a list, not to the irrelevant page to which the site directed me.
Solution: List the correct numbers.
Problem: The emailed warning that instructed me not to cancel my existing policy before receiving my membership materials was exactly the opposite of what I needed to do.
Solution: Give the correct instructions.
And the biggest “misinformation” of all: “You can keep your plan. You can keep your doctor.” The problem, of course, was that for millions of people, this statement was false. Further, the facts are pretty clear that those who said it, and their supporters, knew at the time, or at very least should have known, that it was false. The Affordable Care Act therefore was passed in a less than forthright way. Not to put too fine a point on it: Obamacare proponents led the American public down a primrose path. This has led to hard feelings and has caused combatants on all sides to become even more entrenched and distrustful of one another. (I've had some personal experience with this effect while discussing the topic with friends on my Facebook page).
Solution: Despite what happened to me, now that I'm this far down the road I personally don't want to simply junk the Affordable Care Act. Even so, the current distrustful political atmosphere is not okay. Can it be set right? To start, an apology would be good. I mean a real, sincere one that accepts full, personal responsibility and takes steps to restore trust. Now, only the president can know his own mind. If he did deliberately fib, he should man up and say so. I don't expect that to happen, whether or not he knew at the time that what he was saying was false. But here is what I long to hear President Obama say now: “In the debate over ACA, I said some things that turned out not to be true. In an attempt to focus the debate, I oversimplified. But I knew better. It was poor judgment, and a bad call. I am sincerely sorry. What I should have said is this: ‘We are taking steps to grandfather in as many policies as we can. Even so, some of you will be inconvenienced. You might have to change plans. You might have to change doctors. I regret that. But I ask you to accept this sacrifice so that millions of your fellow Americans can have in the future what you have now and will continue to have in the future: affordable health coverage.’” I would have accepted that last year. I might even accept it now. But the current winners of the ACA debate don’t seem to much care what people like me think. They should. My politics are strictly middle of the road. At the moment I’m reachable by either party. And there’s a mid-term election coming up.
Obamacare and Me: Head vs. Wall. Wall wins.
Obamacare and Me: Help Me. Please. Somebody.
Obamacare and Me: Adventures in the Toilet Zone
©2014 by Forrest Carr. All rights reserved.