I spent about two hours on Saturday signing up for health insurance through THE MARKETPLACE. (I think it deserves an all-caps name, myself.) And since it was kind of a hassle, I thought I’d share a few suggestions for anyone who is planning to sign up before March 31st and has, like me, procrastinated until now.
1. JUST CALL. Seriously, I thought it would be easier to do it online, because I’m super visual and terrible at listening, but I managed to mess up the online identity verification step somehow on Friday afternoon, and by the time I’d spent nearly half an hour on the phone (most of it on hold) on Saturday morning being told that I would need to *snail mail* a copy of my social security card and driver’s license to the US government to prove that I’m a real person, I finally thought to say, “I feel like I’ve been diverted into some sort of disaster scenario. Is there any way I can just start over?” Astoundingly, the answer was yes.
2. If you do use the online sign-up, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM when they say entering your SSN is optional. It is not optional.
3. Pick your plan online first, before you start anything else. By the time I’d gone through the whole song and dance of yes/no/I agree a million times, the last thing I felt capable of was making an informed choice about which plan I wanted. Picking one from the “Learn” pages the day before saved me from a complete breakdown.
4. I made liberal use of these phrases: “I don’t understand what that means” and “Can you stay on the line with me while I try to do that?” My emotions followed this general track: confident, polite, confused, frustrated, angry, weeping, hopeless, slightly encouraged, bored, confused, hopeful, tentatively optimistic. Luckily, the weeping and hopeless part was pathetic enough that my call assistant took pity on me and forgave me for the angry part.
5. Bring entertainment. Hold music is boring. A fanfic tab on standby is always a good choice.
6. The line is open 10 am to 8 pm on Saturdays. (And weekdays, different hours. Maybe 9 to 5? I wasn’t listening to that part.)
7. Write down ALL THE NUMBERS.
8. One thing I was not expecting: they wanted to know if the income from my 2012 (not 2013) tax return was approximately the same as my projected income for 2014. I gambled yes, but I honestly have no idea.
9. You can change stuff later. This was sort of unclear, actually. But yes? If it’s something that would affect your tax credit amount, or if you moved to another state, I think.
10. Have snacks on hand. And a beverage. And lip balm. (That last one may just be me.)
GOOD LUCK. MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.
Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.