Saturday, December 21, 2013

Obamacare Adventures: Epilogue?

I went back to the Covered California site maybe three days ago to again try and figure out if I might have done something wrong since I'd been told by them I wasn't enrolled despite the web site saying I was. I focused on trying to find a link to upload my income verification.

I still couldn't find it, although I'd seen it before. I did look closely at the page that said my citizenship verification had been uploaded but not verified. Then, ah hah! Scrolling down to the bottom of the window that same page had a Submit button. 

I pressed that and nothing seemed to happen. Then I noticed red letters saying I couldn't leave the Comment section of the form blank. I'm not sure why they would have a comment section for the upload or why they'd require I fill it out if I had no comments to make. But, since they wanted a comment, I simply wrote that I couldn't find the link to upload my income verification. I clicked Submit and after a second or so was told my form had been uploaded and the verification of citizenship had been completed.

Why didn't I see that Submit link before? That was about all I could do at that point. I hoped maybe I'd receive some communication from them telling me my status. In the meantime I went back to look at the plan selection page. There was a link on one of the pages to withdraw from whatever plan you're enrolled in. I was thinking of dumping my plan and starting over if I didn't hear something from them soon.

I noticed the $77.01 plan I'd signed up for wasn't on the list of options this time, but the $57.00 one I'd seen before was, along with the more expensive $89.00 plan. It was tempting to bail and try for the $57.00 one, but I decided to leave well enough alone for now.

As of yesterday I still hadn't heard anything from Covered CA but, much to my surprise- if not relief- I did receive a letter from Anthem Blue Cross in the mail yesterday.

Dated December 11(???) it thanked me for applying for one of their plans and told me I wouldn't be enrolled until they received my first premium payment. It told what forms of payment they would accept and a number of addresses and phone numbers to send payment through. 

It also gave the address of a web site where I could pay online so I went there. The letter included an Application ID number which I needed for the site. I inserted the number in the field and was taken directly to a payment page. Seemed strange I didn't have to open an account to do that.

I filled out the credit card info, submitted it and it was accepted. I even received a verification e-mail, unlike with Covered CA. I guess that's it, although I expect I'll get something in the mail again confirming the deal.  Maybe even a card to show to medical providers?

About the only thing I'll do after things settle down a bit is contact them and see if I can switch over to the $57.00 plan. Hopefully that's pretty much it.


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know why people even deal with enrolling via the web site. I went to my insurance agent and the whole process was finished in 45 minutes and verification came the next day. No extra charges to use an agent either.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

In hindsight, you are probably correct. The Covered CA web site is really meant to just connect people with an insurance company. Makes more sense to avoid the middleman, especially since the web site isn't exactly optimum.

I was actually thinking of trying that the other day and checked the State Farm web site. They didn't seem to handle Anthem Blue Cross, or at least it wasn't obvious.

I should have just gone direct to Anthem to begin with and saved myself the hassle. Of course, the one time I did call Anthem, just to see if they had any record of me, I couldn't get through.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Covered CA web site is really meant to just connect people with an insurance company. Makes more sense to avoid the middleman, especially since the web site isn't exactly optimum.

Well part of the idea of the website is to allow you to compare all the available plans side-by-side, in one place, in order to comparison shop more quickly and efficiently, compared to having to contact a bunch of different insurance companies to find out what plans and rates each of them could offer you.

The problems you encountered using the website reduced that value, because it ended up taking longer than it should have. I didn't encounter any of those problems, so in my experience the comparison-shopping aspect of the website worked great.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear you've got coverage in place for the new year.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see Fred that the rest of us will be subsidizing your medical costs next year.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Had no choice. They threw me off the kinda non- subsidized one I was on.

Who subsidizes your medical costs?

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI Anon 7:58, Fred was previously in CMSP, which was heavily subsidized (don't know where Fred got the idea that it was "kinda non-subsidized"). Fred just moved from one subsidized plan to another.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Because I was on share of cost with CMSP. My share of cost each month was around $600- $650. That meant I pretty much payed out of pocket for all my own medical expenses for the last 3 or 4 years. Maybe longer.

Sure, there were my share of administrative costs, but those exist for any insurance- public or private.

In that regard, I very likely cost others less than any of the anons here.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My work which pays for my insurance just re-upped in November, so I won't know how Obamacare will affect me for another year

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

This article from the Contra Costa Times tells of people scrambling to make the deadline for Obamacare. Apparently the notice I got from Covered CA saying I hadn't completed my enrollment was one of over 100K that were sent out:

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I pretty much payed out of pocket for all my own medical expenses for the last 3 or 4 years. "

Because Fred was lucky and wasn't seriously injured or seriously ill during that time. Not because the plan Fred was on wasn't subsidized. CMSP was 100% government funded, both for administrative costs, and for any benefits paid out. Fred didn't happen to have a lot of benefits paid out, because he was lucky. But unlike private insurance, or even this Obamacare public/private plan, he also didn't pay a dime toward administrative costs, and didn't pay a dime for the privilege of being insured in the event that he did have a major illness or injury.

So what Fred had with CMSP was free, government-funded, no premium, high deductible insurance. Works great for everyone, as long as you don't get sick. What he has now is private insurance, heavily subsidized by the government, but where he does have pay at least part of the premium.

So that's a little more like the private insurance most people get through their employer, where the employer pays part of the premium, and the employee pays part of the premium (increasingly the latter pays a larger and larger part). Though of course in that case, it's the policyholder and their employer who split the bill, rather than the policyholder and Uncle Sam splitting the bill, which is what Fred, and of course many others, now have with Obamacare.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to new Obamacare regulations my insurance thru my employer went up 17%. My wife used to have free insurance thru her employer, but it has been dropped thanks to price increases. Her premium for a crummy high deductible plan is $450 per month for a healthy 35 year old. Have to pay to subsidize other people's $59 insurance I guess. The 25% of our income that we pay in income taxes must not be enough. You would think we were rich or something, the pisser is that I work with people that receive various forms of public assistance ant they seem to have more disposable income than we do. Work harder so others don't have to, I guess. Nothing is "free", someone is paying for it.

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only money Uncle Sam has is the money he takes from us its not like they can just print their own money oh wait I forgot about quantative easing is that why my groceries are getting so expensive nah there's no inflation this house of cards is going to come tumbling down and from the looks of it the Chinese figure that out did you know they're printing over 200 billion a month to keep their economy alive I sure hope they figure another way out of this mess besides World War 3


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