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ACA Exchange Experience
Old 11-16-2014, 09:56 AM   #1
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ACA Exchange Experience

Thought I would share my experience so far in signing up for Obamacare.

I am in New York, which has its own web site. Yesterday was the beginning of open enrollment, I tried to sign up but could not complete the process. They did not update the references to year 2014 to year 2015 so it was asking for my 2014 income, but not asking for 2015 income. I thought this was wrong so I aborted the process. This morning they fixed the references which now read 2015. So now I just have to pick a plan which I am still researching.

Anyone else have stories about signing up?
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:13 AM   #2
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Once again I enlisted the help of an independent insurance agent to get my wife and me enrolled. I probably could have done it myself this year, but it doesn't cost us anything to work through him, and it's nice to have someone on hand to clarify anything we might be uncertain about.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jim584672 View Post
........They did not update the references to year 2014 to year 2015 so it was asking for my 2014 income, but not asking for 2015 income........
Well, geeze - you can't expect them to think of everything.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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Signed my GF up last year on the Colorado Exchange. She was happy with the plan so we are going to let it ride this year. We will be checking to make sure that all of her Doctors are still available on the plan she has chosen.

Premiums went up mildly (6%) and her subsidy went down somewhat ($80) but I guess this has more to do with the number of new plans as my understanding is that those are calculated based on the second lowest priced silver plan.

Her income was down this year so we converted IRA to Roth IRA to get her income up and out of the Medicaid category.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Although I'm very glad to have the ACA, the signup process has annoyed the heck out of me. Constantly asking for the same information multiple times and incredible hour long waits for a phone rep.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:52 PM   #6
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I had no problems on healthcare.gov doing an app for Florida. I changed my password a few months ago when I got an email and had no problems logging on. All of last year's info was there. Only negative is that my subsidy is staying the same, but my last year's plan premium went up 26%. They did change the plan a bit adding lower copays and eliminating the deductible.
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #7
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The MediCal threshold went up to 16,105 so I had to adjust my income to keep above that -- that required a little handholding from one of the nice ladies at CoveredCA's helpline.


Even with the increase in income, my subsidy level went up, but not as much as my premium; I'll be paying $15 more each month.


There's still a flag on my eligibility page asking me to verify income prior to May/2014, but my Doctor hasn't turned me away yet! I wonder what document I could possibly send them to prove retirement!
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
Although I'm very glad to have the ACA, the signup process has annoyed the heck out of me. Constantly asking for the same information multiple times and incredible hour long waits for a phone rep.
I will need to wear a hat as I am now bald headed from ripping my hair out. I too have been in an infinite loop of answering the same questions over and over. I was able to do a phone confirmation of my identity and I did the electronic signature but then it blew me back to the home page - this was after wrangling with the form for several hours.

I called the help number and had no wait!!! But, the woman could not pull up my application due to technical difficulties. She suggested that I log back in during the middle of the night and try it again.


Edited to add: This was my first year of using the healthcare.gov website
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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I will need to wear a hat as I am now bald headed from ripping my hair out. I too have been in an infinite loop of answering the same questions over and over. I was able to do a phone confirmation of my identity and I did the electronic signature but then it blew me back to the home page - this was after wrangling with the form for several hours.

I called the help number and had no wait!!! But, the woman could not pull up my application due to technical difficulties. She suggested that I log back in during the middle of the night and try it again.


Edited to add: This was my first year of using the healthcare.gov website

I thought Oregon had its own state exchange--not working well last year, IIRC. Did they send y'all to the federal exchange this year?
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:53 PM   #10
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I thought Oregon had its own state exchange--not working well last year, IIRC. Did they send y'all to the federal exchange this year?
Yes, they gave up on CoverOregon and sent us to healthcare.gov for 2015.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:53 PM   #11
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I'm an Oregonian who just signed up at the Federal Exchange. I had very low expectations after the aforementioned technical disaster portal they gave us last year. This morning I breezed right through the Fed site and never experienced any problems. I'm signed up for 2015. My experience was better than expected.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:08 PM   #12
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I haven't tried it on hc.gov, but if you are a LastPass user, under the tools menu, there is a "save all inputs" feature. Then, the next time you go to the page, all inputs get auto filled. Doesn't work on every site, but does save me time on quite a few sites. I'll be trying it when I use the federal site, because last year I went through those questions umpteen times.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:10 PM   #13
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I will need to wear a hat as I am now bald headed from ripping my hair out. I too have been in an infinite loop of answering the same questions over and over. I was able to do a phone confirmation of my identity and I did the electronic signature but then it blew me back to the home page - this was after wrangling with the form for several hours.

I called the help number and had no wait!!! But, the woman could not pull up my application due to technical difficulties. She suggested that I log back in during the middle of the night and try it again.


Edited to add: This was my first year of using the healthcare.gov website
I called the help line for a second time and again had no wait time. The person helping me could not pull up my application so he suggested I delete the application and create a new one. I did that and it went through without a hitch.

Now I have to figure out how to prove what my income will be in 2015. I am thinking of sending a copy of my Schedule B from my 2013 tax returns along with a note stating that our income is derived solely from dividends and interest.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #14
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Have been trying to setup our coverage for 2015 in the past few days on CoveredCA. Some things I've learned:

- at most times of day the call wait is 1-2 hours (incredible). Seems to be shortest if we call right at 8AM (only 30min wait today, the other day we had an amazing 10 min wait).

- when we first applied in 2014 we ticked some checkbox saying that we did not need a subsidy. In 2015 we become eligible due to income change but the prices shown for new plans did not include the subsidy. It turns out that out initial setting made in 2014 does not automatically update and they needed to fix this manually.

- various buttons and links do not work on the website (e.g. link to text chat, link to terminate/cancel existing plan)

- the prices in the preview calculator are wrong. Our insurance was off by $20/month (the calculator was low)
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:55 AM   #15
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...The person helping me could not pull up my application so he suggested I delete the application and create a new one.
That's an improvement over last year. If you started an application last year and anything at all went wrong, you needed to create a new userid! At least that was my experience.

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Now I have to figure out how to prove what my income will be in 2015. I am thinking of sending a copy of my Schedule B from my 2013 tax returns along with a note stating that our income is derived solely from dividends and interest.
I don't recall having to prove anything about expected income. I recall seeing threats designed to compel me to tell the truth about income. Is this proof thing new for this year? My most recent tax return has W2 income on it and that stopped for me in January.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:48 AM   #16
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O.M.G. CoveredCA flashbacks. It's like watching a train wreck through my fingers.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #17
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Have been trying to setup our coverage for 2015 in the past few days on CoveredCA. Some things I've learned:

- the prices in the preview calculator are wrong. Our insurance was off by $20/month (the calculator was low)
I was happy to find that the calculator was wrong. It didn't even include the plan that we wanted and were able to choose, once we reapplied.

My adventure this and next year will probably come around tax time for 2014, when I have to grapple with Anthem's and CoveredCA's lack of coordination of dates and paperwork for our midyear move.

It will be good practice for when DH goes on Medicare partway through the year in a few years.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:12 PM   #18
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I don't recall having to prove anything about expected income. I recall seeing threats designed to compel me to tell the truth about income. Is this proof thing new for this year? My most recent tax return has W2 income on it and that stopped for me in January.
Yes, I have to send documentation in this year for proof of 2015 income. I was on COBRA last year so I can't speak for 2014, but I read posts on this site that people had to validate their income. This is required if one is requesting a subsidy.

I found something in writing to prove that I separated from service (Federal Government job). My spouse needs to find proof that she is no longer employed. I will also include our 2013 1040 forms. Beyond that, I don't know how to prove future income.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:19 PM   #19
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Regarding proving income when not employees -- one option I see listed is to submit an affidavit. Will try this and see how it goes (I guess we could also submit our final separation letters).
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:58 PM   #20
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Got a Blue Shield PPO Bronze plan on CoveredCA for 2014.

A week ago I got an email from Blue Shield saying I could just continue paying my premiums and my coverage would continue under the same plan for 2015. That is something I remember from my w*rking days during Open Enrollment: if you didn't want to change anything, you didn't have to do anything.

However, I was a little nervous about that process--thinking the email only applied to people with a policy "off exchange", so I logged into CoveredCA. It shows me at the "choose a plan" step. So I just put it off till later--no way was I going to try to call CoveredCA the week that open enrollment starts!

Then yesterday in the US Mail I get a pamphlet from Blue Shield saying the same thing as in the email. The wording is:

"Thank you for being a Blue Shield of California member through Covered California. If you want to continue with your current health plan in 2015, there's nothing you need to do."

Except pay the higher premium, of course. But I'm used to that--nothing new with ACA. The premiums for my previous individual Aetna plan went up at least 10% every year.

I guess I figured I would have to go through the whole coveredCA thing again. I'm happy with my current plan, and happy to do nothing!

BTW, the envelope that came in the mail was hand-addressed. What's that all about, I wonder?
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