My Limited Experience with ObamacareRandall Holcombe • Tuesday October 22, 2013 10:51 AM PST •
I confess I don’t know much about Obamacare. Like the legislators who passed it, I have not read the law, and I’ve had some discussions over lunch with my colleagues where we disagreed about how the insurance exchanges offered coverage and what options were available to people who wanted it.
I get my health insurance through my employer, and that will not change, so the law doesn’t apply directly to me. Still, to see what the options are, I logged on to healthcare.gov, just to find out more about it.
From the initial web page I chose the option, “See Plans Now.” So, let’s see what’s available for me. Another screen pops up and I choose “I’m looking for coverage for myself or my family.” Another screen comes up and I can choose “Health” or “Dental,” and choose “Health.” Next, I select my state, “Florida.” Next I choose that I want coverage for “You, your spouse, and your children.” I go through three information screens and get to a screen showing my options: “0 Health Plan(s).” It then gives me an option to narrow my results, in case zero plans is too many for me to choose from.
I try again, this time asking for coverage only for me. Still zero options. So, I try again, this time listing my state as California. Still zero options.
I think the steps I followed were what someone would do who wanted to use the Obamacare website to see what Obamacare options are available. I wasn’t looking for problems. I was just curious about what my opportunities under Obamacare would be if I needed it. The website said there was nothing available for me. Did I make a mistake, or is there a problem with the website? Try it yourself and let me know if you have better results.
UPDATE: I’ve tried this on a few different computers and web browsers since I first posted this. Here’s what I’ve found. After selecting the state, as above, another window is supposed to open to choose a county, after which the user can continue, and when I do this, I find that I have 27 health plans to choose from. The website will not let the user continue without choosing a county. But, I first tried this using a slightly older version of Firefox (create date: July 27, 2011), and then made the above post. With that browser, the site does not give me the option of choosing a county, and allows me to go on, then telling me I have zero health plan options. My guess is that what I reported above is a bug that occurs only with some browsers. The site does show me health plan options when I use Internet Explorer, or Firefox with a create date of January 23, 2012. It appears there are still some obscure bugs lurking on that website, and I ran into one the first time I tried to access it. I’ve tried half a dozen times with that same browser, getting the same result of zero health plan options.