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It took this Delaware woman 11 days to sign up for Obamacare – and she was the first

By   /   October 17, 2013  /   4 Comments

Part 38 of 96 in the series Obamacare

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Janice Baker credits her hard-headedness as the key reason she became the first person in Delaware to successfully sign up for Obamacare.

And it only took her 11 days to do it.

NO, THE MARKETPLACE IS NOT OPEN: One week after its launch, the federal Obamacare site is still filled with glitches.

Baker, the 59 year-old owner of a dog kennel in Selbyville, was touted by the state’s Department of Health and Social Services this week for being the first successful enrollee in the state health exchange. It is unclear if anyone else has made it through the troubled, glitch-riddled enrollment process.

Baker told Watchdog.org on Wednesday she tried to sign up for health insurance by logging onto the newly-created Delaware health insurance exchange on Oct. 1, the first day the exchanges were open.

“I tried several times and it wouldn’t create an account for me,” Baker said.

Getting annoyed, she called the hotline provided on the website and spoke with one of those taxpayer-funded “navigators” who have been tapped by the Obama administration to help people enroll.

After about half an hour, it looked like they were really getting somewhere.

And then, the navigator’s computer froze and wouldn’t allow them to finish the process.

Baker said she tried again the next day and everything happened the same way. She couldn’t get the website to work on her computer, called the hotline, and gave all her information to an Obamacare navigator.

Then the program froze again.

“It was frustrating,” she said. “But I’m a little hard-headed and maybe that was why I kept trying.”

After what she estimates was “seven or eight” attempts to log-in through the exchange, she finally had a breakthrough. On Oct. 11, she reset her browser and cleared temporary data from her computer, which apparently made all the difference. That night, nearly two weeks after the exchange went live, Baker was able to purchase health insurance through the exchange website.

The next week, the state announced Baker was the first person to successfully use the system.

“My thought is now that we have Janice, we’re going to see more and more people successfully getting through the screens and getting through the enrollment,” Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, told reporters during a conference call this week.

The state promised to make upgrades to the system, but did not return calls from Watchdog.org.

Though attention has been focused on the problems with the federal health care exchange website, Baker’s story is proof that the state-run sites are experiencing similar problems.  Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., decided to set up their own exchanges and another seven decided to create a joint state-federal exchange, which Delaware did.

Another 27 states declined to set up any exchanges, leaving the federal government to run theirs.

Despite all the frustration, Baker, a Democrat, said she still supports the Affordable Care Act. She had previously been denied health insurance on three occasions because of several pre-existing conditions, she said.

Though she declined to discuss her financial situation, Baker said she didn’t qualify for subsidies through Obamacare.

According to the department, there are 90,000 residents of Delaware without health insurance.

At the rate of one person every 11 days, only eight would be enrolled in the health exchanges by the first enrollment deadline at the end of the year.

Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org.  Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87

Part of 96 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
  94. Video: Watch Creepy Uncle Sam make it rain
  95. Five bright spots surrounding the Obamacare exchange failures
  96. Obamacare architect admitted in 2012 states without exchanges lose subsidies

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Eric is a reporter for Watchdog.org and former bureau chief for Pennsylvania Independent. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he enjoys great weather and low taxes while writing about state governments, pensions, labor issues and economic/civil liberty. Previously, he worked for more than three years in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, covering Pennsylvania state politics and occasionally sneaking across the border to Delaware to buy six-packs of beer. He has also lived (in order of desirability) in Brussels, Belgium, Pennsburg, Pa., Fairfield, Conn., and Rochester, N.Y. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and elsewhere. He received a bachelor's degree from Fairfield University in 2009, but he refuses to hang on his wall until his student loans are fully paid off sometime in the mid-2020s. When he steps away from the computer, he enjoys drinking craft beers in classy bars, cheering for an eclectic mix of favorite sports teams (mostly based in Philadelphia) and traveling to new places.

  • Judith77

    Declined to discuss how much the premiums and deductibles were. Yeah, keep on deceiving middle income Americans. She would never have been turned down for treatment. People have been getting treated from day one.

  • Doc

    I live in Delaware. I logged in starting Oct 1st and have logged in every day multiple times. I have seen more than a dozen different type of errors… dozens of times each. Twice I even got the ‘blue screen of death’ which has not happened on this computer ever. I have spent MORE than 9 hours through the first 2 1/2 weeks and STILL cannot see my ‘eligibility results. This even after I’ve ‘chatted’ with the online help at least eight different times and called their hotline at least 10 times. One of the phone agents even suggested he reenter everything… my whole application, which he did. It took 110 minutes (almost two hours for anyone counting), and the program still refused to show my eligibility results.

    I’m so tired of even trying. The Obama adminstration has got to be embarrassed about the situation going on with healthcare.glitch.

    Supposedly, by this Friday (tomorrow) the government is suppose to have worked out most of the problems… this was told to me by a phone agent Thursday night.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Anita L. Cole

    She never stated she had been denied TREATMENT. She said she had been denied INSURANCE. You can go bankrupt paying medical bills if you do not have insurance. Over 60% of all bankruptcies in the US have as 1 of the big reasons, medical bills that the family just can’t pay. Further, when a person does resort to bankruptcy, it is all the taxpayers in that locale that pay the hospital for the folk who got treated and didn’t pay.

  • dfinch

    I have my doubts about this story. She said she had a pre-existing. Why didn’t she sign up for that a year ago?

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