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Health Team

Frustrated with health website, family may skip insurance, pay fine

Posted October 22, 2013
Updated October 23, 2013

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— A Mount Olive family is so fed up with trying to obtain health insurance through the government's Affordable Care Act website that they are considering paying the penalty to go without insurance next year.

HealthCare.gov has been plagued by technical problems since Oct. 1, when people could start comparing insurance plans and enroll for 2014 coverage. The health care law requires most people in the U.S. to have insurance, starting next year, or pay either $95 per person or 1 percent of annual income, whichever is greater.

Wendy and Eddie Davidson and their 17-year-old son have been without insurance for seven years. The couple own a yard equipment repair shop, and they felt insurance was too expensive.

They were eager to shop for coverage through the online health exchange, but that quickly faded as frustration mounted over the enrollment process.

"They make it out like it's so easy and you can shop for all these insurances, and we've just not found that's the case at all," Wendy Davidson said Tuesday.

Eddie Davidson has been trying to navigate HealthCare.gov for three weeks without success.

"Every day, he would start in the morning before he went to work," his wife said. "Then, he would try again at lunchtime. Then, go on at night. This went on for a long time."

She finally told him to take a break and let her try. The website stymied her as well, so she tried to enroll over the phone.

Some ready to abandon health website Some ready to abandon health website

"When I started doing the application over the phone, the first day I was on there for 45 minutes, and the lady's computer locked up," she said. "She asked me to try again next day or so, so I did. I was on the phone for two hours and some minutes, and her computer locked up too."

Wendy Davidson said she asked a week ago that an application to be mailed to her, but it still hasn't arrived. She called Tuesday and was told one wouldn't be mailed until November.

"You're just ready to give up," she said. "I'm really ready to start calling insurance companies myself and just forget it."

Eddie Davidson wants to go a step further and skip the whole process.

"'I know,' he says, 'Let's just pay the penalty at least for this year and be done with it,'" Wendy Davidson said.

There are two other options for people experiencing similar frustrations with HealthCare.gov. A paper application can be downloaded from the website and then mailed in upon completion, and so-called "navigators" across the country have been trained to help people complete an application. Local navigators are listed on the website.

276 Comments

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  • Sherlock Oct 24, 2013

    Should put in a law that stated if you attempted to sign up but had problems because of the computer program you become exempt for getting it for 10 years and the government has to pay for your policy.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Oct 23, 2013

    Well that's not being good Obama citizens now is it. Maybe the fine seems better for you in year one, but it only takes 3-4 years before the fines are more than your now inflated health coverage. Thanks to O'care.

    Elections have consequences people and if you aren't happy with where your country is heading you only have yourselves to blame.

    I actually find it quite amusing that so many want to complain. Now. It's too late. Make the same mistake with Hillary and you ain't seen nothin' yet.

    That's a promise!

  • eoglane Oct 23, 2013

    The penalty is cheaper then the insurance

  • veyor Oct 23, 2013

    Hearing more and more horror NOT on the news, I believe there might be as many that did have insurance that won't, as those that didn't that will.

  • JustaBill Oct 23, 2013

    "The web site is a mess because Obama delayed publishing ACA Rules because he didnt want it to hurt his reelection campaign. The fact that the web site wasnt done in time was an entirely predictable outcome, but of course ignored by Obama ---glarg"

    I assume you have some citation for this?

  • glarg Oct 23, 2013

    "Probably didn't help that NC refused $74 million to help implement ACA."

    You 0-bots are hilarious. Blame everyone but the guy in charge.

    The web site is a mess because Obama delayed publishing ACA Rules because he didnt want it to hurt his reelection campaign. The fact that the web site wasnt done in time was an entirely predictable outcome, but of course ignored by Obama.

    The the debacle happens and its everyone's fault but the guy in charge. How would having more Navigators out there pushing people to the web site help anything?

    The last thing an overloaded web site needs is more sessions.

  • AliceBToklas Oct 23, 2013

    I'd say this puts that Mt. Olive couple in a bit of a pickle.....yea, I went there.-
    -Cotton Hill

    It had to happen.

  • Cotton Hill Oct 23, 2013

    I'd say this puts that Mt. Olive couple in a bit of a pickle.....yea, I went there.

  • wseaweed Oct 23, 2013

    I think that the biggest misconception is that people think ACA is for affordable health care when in fact it is for affordable health insurance. Most health insurance nowadays are major medical policies for major health issues and not for "everyday" health issues. The ACA does in fact cover wellness office visits (normally for an adult it will be one physical a year) but most of the less expensive policies do not cover or offer co-pays for any other type of doctor office visit. Those you will be responsible for out of pocket until you hit your deductible...they also do not offer any prescription co-pays (you are responsible for 100% of the cost until you hit the deductible).

  • AliceBToklas Oct 23, 2013

    COBRA lets you keep the SAME insurance at the SAME total cost under the group plan you were on.
    --junkmail5

    That's exactly how it worked for me and I was happy for it at the time.

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