If you were thinking about using Healthcare.gov - DON'T YET

If you were thinking about entering your information on healthcare.gov, don’t do it yet. It is severely broken, and more important seems to be final in a way not mentioned until it is irrevocable. In addition to the sort of random issues and the fact that any edit makes you go through the entire application again from that point, it seems to be losing data somewhere. I am not sure what the final process thought my income was, but it is incorrectly saying that I may be eligible for illinois family care, which has income limits less than half of what I entered. More importantly, this prevents you from seeing what plans are actually available to you and it seems to automatically send your information to the state without actually telling you that until it does it. And it seems there is no way to delete or screw with the application once it screws it up.
I was actually only trying to see what was available, not make any decisions today. So I implore you, don’t actually go all the way through the process yet, if you actually plan to use the exchange later. Right now the information seems to suggest I must “file an appeal” to fix the issues. Better to have waited to when it was working in the first place.

Nice try, Senator.

Uh… dude? You realize that the folks running healthcare.gov are also without pay/have no incentive to fix things until the rest of the government gets their fluff together, right?

I appreciate your concern.

Are they even running it at the moment? I don’t know if the government considers it “necessary” in the same way that say… the military, the FBI or the National Weather Service are.

It’s running. One of the ironies is that the Affordable Care Act has its own funding so it’s not affected by the government shutdown, despite being one of the reasons for the shutdown.

Can’t you people hold in the snark for at least one post. This is the Straight Dope Message Board. I have come here for the last 12 years because I know that the people here will answer questions honestly, and with thorough research. A simple Google search gives many results of how buggy the Healthcare.gov website is. Here is one from the Washington Post:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/05/a-techie-walks-us-through-healthcare-govs-two-big-problems/

I read another account on an RSS news feed yesterday which documents problems such as in the OP, but it has cycled out of the feed. I will try to find it and link to it.

If you’re in Illinois, shouldn’t you go to getcoveredillinois.gov instead of healthcare.gov?

I’m thinking they will find massive security holes in the near future, so I’m holding off for now. I doubt I’ll get cheaper insurance from the government than I have now, even though it was just raised from $125 to $153 a month.

Are there any people who have actually purchased through the exchange yet?

Are there any people who have actually completed an application even?

Healthcare.gov asks you your state of residence and should, in theory, be directing Illinois residents to their proper website.

Not that I’ve gone through the entire process myself. I figured the first week or two of the process would be buggy as hell so I’ve been waiting until things settle down. Signing up today won’t get you covered any earlier than signing up, say, the second week of November so no hurry.

I’m all for the ACA. Thrilled about it. Want to marry it, etc. I’ve been reading about the website problems the OP mentions, too, though. I gave up when I couldn’t create an account after multiple attempts. Maybe it’s a good idea to wait a few weeks until they debug the thing.

GetCoveredIllinois is just a cover page for Healthcare.gov, essentially. If you answer the questions on that site it directs you straight there. I think I have figure out why it is screwing up - it seems like my kids may be (barely) eligible for “Illinois All Kids” which has increased income limits to something like $87/k a year if GetCoveredIllinois is to be believed. But that is a separate thing from “Illinois Family Care”, which has income limits at like $35k. And being eligible to be covered by All kids doesn’t or shouldn’t prevent me or my wife buying on the exchange, and unless they’ve issued rules differently that I don’t know about, I should be able to just buy insurance for my whole family even if my kids could get All Kids and get a subsidy as my income is way above the 133% of poverty level where the subsidies disappear.
But it is the inability to change is one thing that I wanted to point out - you can’t put in another application or play with your income to see what your options might be if say, you were considering having your wife get another job or whatever. It appears that you get one shot, at least at this point, and that is it.

Edit to add, which is to say Illinois is not running their own exchange, their own website is mostly informational and to point you to the medicaid applications for Illinois.

At least 90,000 as of Saturday, and that’s only counting the 14 states that run their own exchanges.

From your link:

Also, I was referring to the subject of the thread, though I see that just the word “exchange” could theoretically be ambiguous.

I got as far as to get a case number assigned (CA). Since then, I have not even found the logon screen, let alnoe an actual application.
Did get through to “live chat”
Me "Q 1, 2, and 3
LC We are experiencing exceedingly heavy volume; have added, ya da da…
Me to busy to look up my number?
LC NO, SIR (how did she (agent’s name is displayed; real or otherwise) know my sex?
LC “click” Have a nice night.

I haven’t been able to get my state’s website to work yet. It gets hung up at
each step. I can’t even get to the point where I can see what it will cost me. I’m in MD, and there are lots of DC Gov, NSA, and Ft Meade employees who are off because of the furlough. I figure they’re all checking it out during their free time since they can’t work. I’ll try again next week.

I was one of the lucky ones, I signed up in a few minutes with no problem.

However, plenty of people are having problems. According to this article, they are reseting passwords, and some people are being asked to re-register with new user names.

jacobsta811 - I hope the fixes they put in place help with your problem. I understand why you are so frustrated.

I could be wrong, but based on my own experience, when a project starts off this poorly, it was not ready to go live and the fix usually takes much longer than a few weeks.

The typical pattern is to get into fire fighting mode and start creating bandaids to get past critical problems, but that consumes your time leaving little time to fix the actual problem. As you get past the first wave of problems, the users begin using different parts of the system creating new issues.

I’ve seen things like this drag out for many months or even a year. If there is a fundamental design flaw, portions of the system could just be turned off and handled manually/semi-automatically behind the scenes.