The bus stopped right in front of my office. I knew this because the driver often blocked the exit from our Chagrin Blvd. building. And there I was, about a dozen years ago, riding the RTA to work. I had already walked a half a block from my Shaker Hts. home to the Rapid and waited in the rain to transfer to the bus. All of this because of my reliance on technology. Our electricity had been knocked out in the storm. My garage door opener, a first generation behemoth, wouldn’t disengage and I couldn’t get my car out of the garage.
I contacted a client, Smooth Door, a week later and replaced the opener. The new garage door openers, built with a better understanding of what the consumer needed, allowed me to manually lift the door when the power failed.
My last post, The Not Ready For Primetime Players, detailed the problems I have had in getting the government to help me insure a newborn. I have exciting news: As previously noted, Senator Brown’s office has been a real asset. I can now report that there are people doing their jobs at both The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Last Friday. August 29th, an HHS employee left a message on my client’s cellphone. A Special Enrollment had been granted for the client’s baby son and was made retroactive to his birth. My client was told that “The Plan” would contact him early the next week and advise him on the next steps he would need to take to get the baby added on to his policy through the Exchange.
There were no further contacts and the HHS employee, a Mr. Ryan had blocked his number. We could not call him back.
On Friday, September 5th, the client and I called Healthcare.gov. We reached a helpful, professional woman who was able to verify everything that had been left on the client’s voicemail.
- A Special Enrollment had been granted
- It was retroactive
- There were notes detailing the efforts of the Senator’s office and CMS
If the goal was to get the federal government to recognize that a baby had been born in Cleveland in April, we did it. But insuring the child is still beyond our grasp.
The system crashed four times. Our helpful professional became as frustrated as the client. She rebooted, cleared histories, and begged for help from her supervisors.
One hour and forty-five minutes into the call our contact was forced to provide the required statement. I was told the Healthcare.gov will provide “support feedback to Technical Support and that the individual should try again in 72 hours”.
And I was back to where I had been in May.
I have already heard from on CMS employee, thrilled that this is no longer on her desk. “I understand your frustrations with this whole process, but please try to continue to touch base with the Call Center from Marketplace to effectuate the babies (sic) enrollment. We cannot process enrollments. I hope this helps.”
The Technology that was supposed to make the acquisition of health insurance quicker and easier is preventing my client from covering his child. As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the government has created these unnecessary, inefficient Exchanges. They are populated by well-meaning workers who are scandalously unprepared and who know nothing about insurance. And, the government has failed to design a way to manually fix the inevitable problems of their glitch ridden computer system.
Our unwarranted faith and over-reliance on technology has again left us stuck on the bus.