Behold the Hollywood bubble. This week, actress Olivia Wilde starred in an Obamacare propaganda video targeting young people. "You can sign up for health care online in 10 minutes," her co-propagandist chirped as she cheered. Cue the laugh track. Back on planet Earth, Americans nationwide are still struggling with the $634 million online health care exchange nightmare.
One reader asked me to share his story. Like me and 22 million other citizens in the private individual market for health insurance, he recently received his You Can't Keep It cancellation notice. Here's what happened when he went online to find alternatives.
"I live in New Jersey, but work for a small company based out of Massachusetts. For years, we were all insured through the company from a plan that originated in Massachusetts. However, as soon as Obamacare was passed, we were "audited" by the insurance company, and it turns out only 50 percent of our company is based in Massachusetts, and therefore we did not qualify as a company under the law. Apparently, you need 51 percent based in the state. About five days prior to our insurance policy renewal, we were told we could not (renew), and I had to scramble to purchase a much more expensive individual policy with much higher costs.
"Fast-forward two years. I now receive a new letter from my insurance company, Horizon Blue Cross, (informing me) that the plan that I have now is being discontinued and I need to pick a new plan.
"On Oct. 1, I tried to get into the exchange for New Jersey that is run by the federal government. I earn too much for a subsidy, but I wanted to see what my options were and how much more this was going to cost.
"I created an account and tried for four days to get in. Each time it said my password was invalid. I tried to use the "forgot password" option so they could send me a link to reset. When I got the link, the system kept saying that it didn't recognize my user account. When I tried to re-create the user account, it told me that one already existed. I called the number several times, and they all told me the same thing: Try back later. The glitches are being worked out.
"I (then) created a new account under (my wife's) name. After several attempts, I was able to get in. Over the weekend, I spent at least four hours trying to fill out the application. Each time, the website crashed. When I got back to work on Monday, I tried one more time. Lo and behold, the application was submitted. At this point, President Obama must be thinking 'great, a success story.'
"Well, my options came back, and voila: According to the government, I'm not eligible for any private plans. I received a notice that my entire family is only eligible for Medicaid! I make a decent salary. I'm not eligible for a subsidy, let alone Medicaid.
"This morning my wife received a call. Apparently, it was the exchange. She explained to them that we are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. The person on the phone told her, "That is what the system says you are eligible for. If you want, you can file an appeal."
"So now back to a change in plans. I currently have a Point of Service that covers benefits 70 percent after a large deductible, with somewhat large co-pays for doctors. Horizon Blue Cross does offer a similar plan (to the one being canceled) for about the same, but the problem is that my children's pediatricians are not in it (so much for keeping your doctors).
"The only plans that the doctors take involve a 40 percent deductible with higher co-pays. So now I have fewer options and not more. There is another new company offering coverage where I am, but it has zero out-of-network benefits and a smaller network. Either way, everything is changing for me with higher costs.
"I hope you can somehow relate this story to the public at large to let them see that the whole process is a joke. The automatons who know nothing are just collecting a government check and getting health care paid for by me with my tax dollars, when I cannot even get my own."
In sum: Obama lied. His health plan died. He can't keep his doctors. He couldn't sign up in 10 minutes for health care. He's being steered toward a government plan he doesn't qualify for or want. And he can't get his personal information back from the online Obamawreck black hole.