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Maddening: Trying to log onto federal health care site

By   /   October 4, 2013  /   1 Comment

Part 18 of 93 in the series Obamacare

GETTING NOWHERE: Potential customers in New Mexico for individual coverage by the federal government plan still have major problems creating accounts.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE – Dear readers, you may recall that on Tuesday — the first day of the rollout of the new health care law — I posted a story on my attempt to get information on what  individual health care coverage I was eligible for here in New Mexico.

I already have insurance through my employer, but like many in my state, I’m curious to compare what I’m paying for now with what I could get through the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

On Tuesday, I couldn’t get an answer. Nothing has changed in the last three days.

The NMHIX can handle accounts from small businesses. Officials at NMHIX boasted on Tuesday it had signed up 29 small businesses in the first 45 minutes of operation, and that by midday about 100 had enrolled.

But if you want information for individual accounts, NMHIX directs you to the federal government’s website, www.healthcare.gov.

That website features a smiling young woman and this headline:

healthcare.gov smiling woman

The page may say, “The Health Insurance Marketplace is Open!” but on Tuesday, I couldn’t create an account because, while filling out the application process, the drop boxes on the security questions didn’t work.

As has been mentioned in stories across the country, the healthcare.gov site was plagued with glitches.

So, now that three days have passed, I tried again.

I logged on at 10:49 a.m. Friday, saw the smiling woman and clicked on “Apply Now.” Up popped:

healthcare.gov we have a lot of visitors

After 14 minutes, the site took to me the “Let’s Get Started” page. I started filling out the necessary information — name, address, email, etc. — to create an account.

This time, I was able to get to the security questions and the drop boxes actually worked. Great, it looked like I was on my way.

But after filling out the three security questions, up popped:

healthcare.gov security question problem

I thought I filled out the questions correctly, but nevertheless I returned to the account page and tried again.

After filling out the boxes a second time, I got the same message.

So I called the NMHIX hotline again (hold times are shorter than on the federal number) and this time, I talked to an operator named Deborah.

“Am I doing something wrong when I fill out the security questions?” I asked.

“No, the security questions are not working,” she said. “They tell us it could be two to three weeks before they get it fixed.” ”They” meaning the fed’s www.healthcare.gov site.

Apparently, some applicants get as far as I did before the system freezes up, but Deborah said others don’t.

She said I could click on the “Chat” button to let the feds know about my issue. I did, where after a nine-minute wait, a chat operator named Salina came online.

I apologize for the inconvenience,” she wrote. “We are aware of the issues and we are working in resolving them.” 

Salina offered no time line for clearing up the glitches. “…Unfortunately, I do not have that information…Again, I apologize for the inconvenience,” she wrote.

After my story Tuesday, a couple of New Mexico Watchdog readers relayed similar stories. Bob in Santa Fe wrote to tell me his son thought he had created an account but:

“After about 15 minutes, he signed onto his account, found the email, and clicked on the link. Nothing happened for several minutes.  Then a message came up saying that too much time had elapsed, so this account was canceled! I tried again, but we were back to square one. I did get through, but after I had entered all of the information, a message told me that the system was down. Twice!”

Another reader, John, left me this comment: “I have been able to at least to get log-in information but so far have not been able to connect — the system says wait as we have heavy traffic, guess everyone else is attempting to check out health insurance at 4 and 5 AM. Looks they got  the slowest dial up speed they could!!”

We’re not alone, but that’s little consolation.

I’ll try again in a couple of days.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

Part of 93 in the series Obamacare
  1. Obamacare compliance means less money for TN service agencies
  2. The mystery of Obamacare spending in Arkansas
  3. Obamacare raises questions for MD small business owners
  4. Kansas official on Obamacare: ‘Let someone else be the guinea pig’
  5. Obamacare insurance marketplace has plenty of kinks on first day
  6. OR’s Obamacare insurance marketplace hits technological snag
  7. Fail: Day 1 of the New Mexico Obamacare rollout
  8. Senator asks: Do you want this dysfunctional government taking over health care?
  9. Jobs, coverage at risk with Obamacare, MN union health official says
  10. Oregon’s Obamacare ads resemble middle school art
  11. VIDEO: Obamacare vs Affordable Care Act: Comedy triumphs in court of confusion
  12. Patience is key to navigating Illinois’ Obamacare marketplace
  13. Hawaii residents, lawmakers frustrated with health connector glitches
  14. Healthy young, key to Obamacare, aren’t buying it
  15. NM’s health exchange tries to lure ‘young invincibles’
  16. Obama drama: Senator blames governor for big rate hikes
  17. Progressive group navigates Oregon students through Obamacare
  18. Maddening: Trying to log onto federal health care site
  19. You know that one guy who successfully signed up for Obamacare? He didn’t
  20. What’s wrong? It’s been a week, and Obamacare website still not working
  21. HHS Secretary Sebelius back in FL after embarrassing Obamacare rollout
  22. Health centers enroll Floridians in Obamacare as application problems persist
  23. VIDEO: Stewart skewers Sebelius on Obamacare
  24. Obamacare effect? 9 companies exit Nebraska’s health insurance market
  25. Obamacare: Children of undocumented parents face an uncertain future
  26. Which way do we go? Obamacare navigator registration in TN in question
  27. NM health exchange tries to ease problems with Obamacare website
  28. CPA says hype over Obamacare small business tax credit is misleading
  29. Obamacare navigator under fire for arrest warrant
  30. Reports of Obamacare fraud emerge in Tennessee
  31. After two weeks, FL online Obamacare enrollees are hard to find
  32. Illinois state governor touts 100K Obamacare enrollees, all in Medicaid
  33. Kansas lawmaker calls for crackdown on Obamacare navigators
  34. WI health care exchange seeing few getting through
  35. Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange relaunches with more glitches
  36. We’ll know next month how many people in NM signed up for Obamacare — maybe
  37. Zero: Number of Nebraskans Obamacare navigators have signed up
  38. It took this Delaware woman 11 days to sign up for Obamacare – and she was the first
  39. How many people have signed up for health insurance in VA? Who knows?
  40. What else? NM federal health exchange ads stalled due to website problems
  41. Blue Cross hires temp workers to deal with Obamacare glitches
  42. If Obamacare is the next Medicare, will physicians leave en masse?
  43. Three problems that won’t be solved by fixing the Obamacare exchange glitches
  44. Plenty of Oregonians interested in Obamacare, but none can enroll online
  45. Criticize this: Obamacare premiums a near match to WI disclosures
  46. Report: Missourians will see sharp rise in premiums under Obamacare
  47. Kansas navigators say they’ve enrolled no one in Obamacare
  48. Obamacare too costly for rich Coloradans, Democrat congressman says
  49. Study: Kansas premiums to spike following Obamacare rollout
  50. Hang on to your candy: Creepy Uncle Sam is back
  51. Obamacare or bust: NM Watchdog turned back again
  52. Medical journals, experts refute claim that Medicaid cuts ER use
  53. Arkansas spends $4M on Obamacare ads, wants more
  54. LOL: In July video, HHS bragged about being ‘on schedule’ with Obamacare
  55. Illinois uses Day of the Dead to market Obamacare
  56. Sebelius denies GOP’s Terry ‘unreliable’ Obamacare info
  57. About 290,000 Washington residents lose health insurance plans
  58. Broken promise: Obamacare cancels almost 20,000 Kansas health care plans
  59. Top hospitals opt out of Obamacare
  60. Obamacare moves to intensive care
  61. Obamacare provision could lead to more Medicaid fraud
  62. Obamacare: Religious groups want to ‘move mountains’
  63. Obamacare hitting Wisconsin residents with double whammy
  64. Kansas AG: Obamacare threatens consumer privacy
  65. 1,500 in New Mexico have to move out of the high-risk insurance pool
  66. Cover Oregon website fiasco creates jobs, but costs millions
  67. For Florida’s Obamacare small business exchange, it’s crunch time
  68. Only 877 Wisconsinites have signed up for Obamacare, federal report says
  69. Just 172 in NM have completed Obamacare applications: ‘Woefully inadequate,’ says NMIX board member
  70. With only 346 Oklahomans signed up, leaders decry ‘Obamacare debacle’
  71. Defying Obamacare: ‘Send them the bill,’ NM insurance official says
  72. Kansas Obamacare enrollment dwarfed by nearly 20,000 cancellations
  73. Numbers don’t lie: In Illinois, Obamacare means Medicaid
  74. Wisconsin governor proposes insurance plan to address Obamacare rollout failure
  75. Tennesseans might know Tuesday if they can keep canceled health insurance
  76. People demand answers over Oregon’s Obamacare fail
  77. Calif. says ‘no’ to Obamacare freebies, makes own law
  78. HI health exchange violates federal law, League of Women Voters say
  79. Obamacare video winner: ‘Forget about the price tag’
  80. Harvard study finds ‘striking’ rejection of Obamacare by young Americans
  81. HI health exchange has signed up 574 people, for about $348,000 apiece
  82. Are the uninsured getting Obamacare coverage in Illinois?
  83. Secret Obamacare handbook the feds don’t want you to see is online
  84. Lost in translation: Once-supportive Hispanics turning backs on Obama, ACA
  85. HI Obamacare exchange not fiscally sustainable, lawmakers told
  86. Illinois’ latest Obamacare targets: gold diggers and momma’s boys
  87. Now Democrats are bashing California’s Obamacare exchange, too
  88. Obamacare: For $1.37M we get Richard Simmons in lurid web stream
  89. Obamacare: A welcome mat for IRS horrors
  90. California senator seeks audit of state Obamacare exchange
  91. Report: Hawaii ranks worst for Obamacare signups
  92. CA senator sues Obamacare exchange for causing policy cancellations of 1M
  93. Failure of Maryland Obamacare exchange could mean higher premiums in North Dakota

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Rob Nikolewski

  • Carl Matthews

    The Whitehorse knew this would happen and they are full of it … I am so angry .. I am against anything Affordable Care Act or Obama care right now … this garbage is intentional. Glad it happened so I can see that they cloaked the real premium prices form citizens. It is another scam.