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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Breaking Up With Healthcare.gov

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Boling is frustrated with the website, but not as frustrated as Lara Imler. After weeks of trying — and failing — to make her application work, Imler wants a break from healthcare.gov.

She never got a packet from her insurance company asking her to pay the first premium. She figures canceling the plan — with the chance to start fresh later — is her best option.

So on a recent morning, she sat down in her living room, with her laptop and a cup of coffee to try to resolve her difficulties—but not without frustration.

“I’ve had to change my password about four times. Oh you know what, I have it written down. I cheated! There it is,” she says.

The site logs Imler in pretty quickly. And after a few clicks she finds her enrollment information:

The application that she finished on Oct. 24 says, “status, complete.” Imler clicks on the actual application and scrolls down to  an ominous looking red icon that says, “terminate coverage.”

“So you hit the terminate button. It says you’ve chosen to end the following coverage. … You then have to check ‘I have fully read and understand that I’m choosing to terminate coverage,’” she says. “Then you click terminate again and we’ll see what happens.”

What happens is nothing. The health plan Imler signed up for is still listed in her profile. She logs out and then back in, and it looks exactly the same. She checks her e-mail for a notice of coverage termination and finds nothing there either. Imler leans back on the couch and looks surprisingly calm about the whole thing:

“I’m resigned to the fact that it doesn’t work. No matter what I do, it just doesn’t work. And this is the improved website.”

When she is able to cancel her plan, Imler says she won’t be quitting healthcare.gov for good. This is a separation, not a divorce. Imler’s been uninsured for nearly a decade and wants that to change. She plans to log back into the website early next year and is hopeful that signing up for insurance will go a lot more smoothly then.

Sun, Dec 01 2013

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