Thursday, October 31, 2013

My adventure with Covered California

My mom needs health insurance.

Her work cut insurance a while ago and at 62, it isn't cheap to have to find your own. She currently has a high deductible plan and pays northward of $300 a month for it.

Thankfully, the only good thing I will say about the Affordable care act, is that its going to make insurance a lot cheaper for my mom since she's low income.

She qualifies for a healthy subsidy because of her income, but with all the drama around the government website, I wasn't sure how I was going to get her to sign up.

I ended up having Monday off so she came over with her information and we began the process.

I tried to start out on the internet and created her an account with all the security questions and password... and then we got an error message and could not start the application. I was using Chrome, so I tried again in firefox and internet explorer 9 while waiting for the internet chat to open up to get someone who could assist me... I was originally number 21 in line... and after around 20 minutes, my screen looked like this:

Finally, after 40 minutes of waiting, I got a rep... and this was our conversation.

Apparently there wasn't anything we could do online... I called the number...

Thankfully the wait was only 5 minutes until I got someone. I read them word for word the advice the gal on the website had given me and then we spent around 30 minutes on the phone with the application... My mom didn't know she needed to actually have the form that says she's a US citizen in front of her (she was born in Canada and came here when she was 5), so she ran home to get it while i wrote our application number down so we could call back.

First problem came when we called back 10 minutes later and the guy couldn't find our application. We were about to start a new one after he kept searching for a good 5-7 minutes when it finally popped up.

We then spent another 30 minutes on the phone while he plugged in that one number, selected my mom's health plan, and waited with us while the application submitted. Most of the time we spent just waiting because their network was running so slow. While we chatted I discovered he actually grew up one city over from me and like my mom, his mom was one of the original homeowners in this area when there was just dirt and no paved roads.

On an average day he told me he signs up around 10 people for health insurance. Eventually our application went through and we decided to get my mom a gold health insurance plan with Health Net because it will cost her around $130 a month and it does not have a deductible.

So in total, it took me 40 minutes on-line and an hour on the phone, but my mom should receive papers by Nov 15th to set up payment so she can have her new insurance on January 1st.

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