CNN: No, you can’t buy health insurance through ObamaCare 800 number

posted at 1:01 pm on October 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Actually, the video below doesn’t do as good a job of telling this story as CNN’s written story does. On Monday, Barack Obama insisted that people could call the toll-free ObamaCare (1-800-F1UC-KYO) to buy insurance if the website wasn’t working for consumers. Danielle Dellorto tried testing that out and found a much different reality from the call center:

They told me we needed to first get set up with an application. That part was very simple too — I was asked basic questions like my name, address and Social Security number.

Five minutes later, they said I was I all set.

So did that mean I was enrolled? No.

I have to call back– in one to three weeks — for that.

Turns out, the call center can’t actually process applications over the phone. They can just take your information and submit it for you.

Once I get a paper statement in the mail saying I’m eligible to enroll, I can then call the center back and enroll over the phone, the representative said.

In fact, people can’t even get information on which health plans they have as choices. The call center won’t discuss terms and prices until after the paper statement arrives:

From a consumer standpoint, the most frustrating aspect was that I couldn’t get any specifics about the various insurance options during this call either.

I was told they can’t divulge the information about the four levels of coverage choices until I get that piece of paper in the mail — a long, drawn-out process for something that it appears could be done immediately with technology.

Dellorto noted that the call wait times for the center seem pretty reasonable, at least when she called, but the effective wait time is three weeks.  Prior to ObamaCare, people could look up various insurance plans from carriers in their area on the insurer websites and simply call the insurer to buy a plan.  Now, though, in order to qualify for the federal subsidies that go along with the mandate, consumers get forced into the utterly incompetent government program and can’t find out anything.

Oh, and that approach relies on the same computer system as the web portal, so …

With the supposedly state-of-the-art $600 million HealthCare.gov portal malfunctioning, President Barack Obama is urging Americans to go ahead and try to get health coverage by mailing in a paper application, calling the helpline or seeking help from one of the trained “assisters.”

But the truth is those applications — on paper or by phone — have to get entered into the same lousy website that is causing the problems in the first place. And the people processing the paper and calls don’t have any cyber secret passage to duck around that. They too have to deal with all the frustrations of HealthCare.gov — full-time. …

POLITICO reporters who got recorded announcements earlier in the week — sometimes directing them to try HealthCare.gov — can now get through to the call center. Once they connect, staffers like “Justin” try to get people’s information into the online system.

But “Justin” doesn’t have a fast track. Asked if the website works better for him than the general public, he responded: “No.”

“The site does not work for us either,” he said.

Small wonder that industry experts contacted by CNN advised that the best approach to this debacle would be to “blow it up, start over“:

Experts say the major problems with the Obamacare website can’t reasonably be solved before the end of 2013, and the best fix would be to start over from scratch.

After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.

But would-be Obamacare enrollees only have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage starting at the beginning of 2014. Nish Bhalla, CEO of information-security firm Security Compass, said it “does not sound realistic at all” that Healthcare.gov will be fully operational before that point.

“We don’t even know where all of the problems lie, so how can we solve them?” Bhalla said. “It’s like a drive-by shooting: You’re going fast and you might hit it, you might miss it. But you can’t fix what you can’t identify.”

Several computer engineers said it would likely be easier to rebuild Healthcare.gov than to fix the issues in the current system.

I say meet them halfway.  Blow it up, and then replace it with real market-based reforms that gets government out of the way.


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I say meet them halfway. Blow it up, and then replace it with real market-based reforms that gets government out of the way.

Too logical, reasonable, and smart. It will never happen. Meanwhile, more people will get dropped or priced out of their coverage. GENIUS! But we’re nuts (extremists, anarchists, hostage takers, suicide bombers, etc.) for wanting Congress to be a part of the same ridiculous plan they created.

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Wethal on October 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

its been that way for years..
when i was at NASA’s JPL…we had it..
minority this and that…
they couldnt have only minority rocket scientists…
but everyone else there is on a ticket of some kind..
or the contract house was minority owned…
most of the designers were not minorities..
but the man who owned the contract house was…
hell…even his wife was a wasp….laffs

going2mars on October 26, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Of course but the reality is that it’s going to implode at some point and whoever is around at that time is going to get hammered. The Won has sped things up so much that I’m beginning to believe that he may actually get to see the fruits of his labor. He’s not going to like that movie.

Oldnuke on October 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

As long as he stars in that movie…he’ll like it because he’s delusional and despite the media commentary of smartest and bestest preezy evah…he’s not particularly intelligent.

workingclass artist on October 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

we could shit her
we could shift her….

sorry for the tardy F..

going2mars on October 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Actually, it seems to be more accurate without the F.

Solaratov on October 26, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Solaratov on October 26, 2013 at 2:29 PM

sometimes even an honest slip…
works out just right…
i admit i laff’d at that myself..

going2mars on October 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

How about we blow it up and FIRE everyone associated with it, including the dumb asses who passed that POS legislation in the first place.

GarandFan on October 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

S

mall wonder that industry experts contacted by CNN advised that the best approach to this debacle would be to “blow it up, start over“:

It can’t be fixed or replaced. Ten thousand pages of rules make it impossible. Consider the combinations and permutations.

This thing is a mass of kludges, hacks and layers of lardware. ( I just coined that)

EpicClusterFarkNado(tm)

The GOP plan is sound. It allows and encourages competition. This worked for car insurance and other products. Always HAS worked.

dogsoldier on October 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Wait, didn’t “Arlene” get fired for talking to Hannity? But “Justin” can talk to CNN, no problem? There’s that double standard again …

toby11 on October 26, 2013 at 2:35 PM

dogsoldier on October 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

The Democrats themselves set the precedent to toss the entire EpicClusterFarkNado out when they passed the ACA and tossed out the way that the health insurance industry worked to put it under federal government control.

The problem is that market-based capitalistic solutions are anathema to the core beliefs of the progressive-fascist-statist agenda.

The fact that those market-based capitalistic solutions ultimately work just angers them more. They are supposed to be the arbitrators of social and economic justice.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Prior to ObamaCare, people could look up various insurance plans from carriers in their area on the insurer websites and simply call the insurer to buy a plan.

WHY CAN”T AMERICANS JUST CALL THE INSURER OR THEIR INSURANCE ANGENT TO BUY A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN NOW?

There should be no need to provide all of this health data to the government. The government is simply an unnecessary middle man between you and your insurer.

If people want to apply for a subsidy, they should be able to do that directly with the IRS on their tax forms.

Insurance companies can market their plans on their own websites as they have been doing for years.

There should be no need for this $600 Million Federal Obamacare website. (Other than to give the Obama Administration an excuse to collect your private information.)

wren on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

wren on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Geez, what is with all the common sense here?

2L8 on October 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

OT: Re: Dr. Krauthammer

The freak accident that changed Charles Krauthammer’s life

Murphy9 on October 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Geez, what is with all the common sense here?

2L8 on October 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I am surrounded by liberals in a deep blue state. I need a place to vent common sense to maintain my sanity. HotAir provides a very necessary outlet for me!

Thank you for reading my comment, 2L8. I feel better now.

wren on October 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Democrats don’t deserve another shot at the WH, not after
1)having rammed through a health care plan they had no idea how to put together,
2)not telling citizens how it was going to work,
3)failing to contract with a reputable firm with a solid background in creating web commerce sites
4) hiding info on rates and deductible from the people forced to buy into this crap sandwich
5) lying to citizens about their ability to keep their plan, surprising them with dropped coverage instead
6) calling this plan “AFFORDABLE”
7) hiding information about how many people have been able to actually buy insurance
8) lying to citizens about how they can purchase insurance ON THE PHONE, since the $600m website won’t work
9) not testing the website before it launched
10)refusing to delay the program until all the bugs are fixed

NOTHING the government has ever launched in this history of this country has been this mucked up. Ever.

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM

The fact that those market-based capitalistic solutions ultimately work just angers them more. They are supposed to be the arbitrators of social and economic justice.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Yeah so then can find a way to raid my paycheck to empower and enrich themselves.

dogsoldier on October 26, 2013 at 3:08 PM

then should read “they”

dogsoldier on October 26, 2013 at 3:08 PM

“Tear down this Glitch” — obama

Schadenfreude on October 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM

LOL!

Brilliant comment, sir. Bravo!

PatriotGal2257 on October 26, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Let it collapse. House should tell Senate and BO to pound sand

matthew8787 on October 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM

The government is simply an unnecessary middle man between you and your insurer.

I’ll disagree with this.

If the government were just an unnecessary middle man in the transaction, their entire role would be related to snagging a bit of ‘profit’ from the transaction. The option would exist to bypass the middle man in the transaction.

What the ACA did was establish the federal government as the central control and conduit through which all aspects of the healthcare industry, ranging from insurance transactions, to claims and treatment decisions, have to pass. The private insurers are now subservient to the federal government and their controls like the IPAB.

Not only has the federal government inserted itself as the ‘critical control rod’ for the healthcare industry, but it is also using it’s centralized control position to massively increase it’s role and effort to redistribute wealth in the name of social and economic justice.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Wait, didn’t “Arlene” get fired for talking to Hannity? But “Justin” can talk to CNN, no problem? There’s that double standard again …

toby11 on October 26, 2013 at 2:35 PM

You know, I had the very same thought when reading that. So I don’t now feel so eccentric for thinking that, having read your and another’s earlier comment about that very same thing.

:)

Lourdes on October 26, 2013 at 3:18 PM

…The problem is that market-based capitalistic solutions are anathema to the core beliefs of the progressive-fascist-statist agenda.

The fact that those market-based capitalistic solutions ultimately work just angers them more. They are supposed to be the arbitrators of social and economic justice.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The “progressive-fascist-statist agenda” people’s problem is they can’t justify non-productive individuals by any realistic, respectable means. So they’ve carved out the “precious poor” “class” and other “classes” to try and make them serviceable by the labor and resources of others.

I’m not opposed to helping the poor, not the poor of spirit, nor the widows and orphans, nor the elderly who are ill and can’t do for themselves or those with physical/mental disabilities who can’t maintain competitive achievements with the able-bodied.

Those people, I think we as human beings, should display ongoing charity toward.

The Left’s, the Progressive, problem is they rely on that desire to be charitable to rationalize a wide-range of dysfunction or, more specifically, refusal to function.

They can’t justify promiscuity and lack of parenting that results in high crime, abortion prevalence, fatherless children, children without parents at all lost in “families” of five/ten w/a 22 year old ‘mother’ knocked out by five in the evening. So they make all of that dysfunction about “the poor” and assert society must take care of them.

We may offer helps to change those circumstances and behaviors, but that’s not what the Left wants or can run with: it’s just easier to demand to be supported by someone else’s resources than to solve anything otherwise, “don’t want to tell other people what to do,” as if that’s the end-all of all-time.

Lourdes on October 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Democrats don’t deserve another shot at the WH, not after
(…)
NOTHING the government has ever launched in this history of this country has been this mucked up. Ever.

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM

The Left culture in the US as also other countries that are so-called “democracies” (but are Communist/Marxist like Cuba, Venezuela, China, etc. — meanwhile, they do so like to call themselves “democracies”), their culture is still insisting on compliance of all to the idea that The Collective (Democratic Party, Hugo Chavez, Communist Party, Fidel and his Revolutionary “Health care workers”…) is there for the good of all.

They preach/indoctrinate this idea that if you just stay with the DNC/Left, you’ll be taken care of (“they care about people, the other political party doesn’t” is their claim).

I read it all the time when some Leftwinger is asked why they don’t consider voting Republican: they say the GOP “doesn’t care about (them)” and that “the Democrat Party cares about people.”

Never mind that they can never and do never distinguish just what they mean by that with any specific acts, deeds, etc. They just repeat by rote those statements. It’s been drummed into them culturally.

Lourdes on October 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Bamboo Spears…

Glenn [Reynolds, Instapundit] was talking about the pummeling the GOP was taking in the polls during and after the latest “government shutdown,” which was in fact caused by President Obama but which was reported in the press – universally – as being the fault of the Republicans. He wrote:

The GOP has to deal with the problem posed by a hostile media. It’s like trying to mount an invasion when the enemy has air superiority.

Up until that instant, I thought I had a good sense of the advantage that the Democrats, and their control-freak ilk, had over those of us that value responsibility, freedom and being left alone. I have done innumerable commentaries on press bias; I’ve even done some math with Electoral College voting showing what a difference a 15 percentage point spin does to Presidential campaigns.

So I thought I had a handle on the political consequences of this kind of media headwind. But I don’t naturally think like a politician. I think like a fighter pilot.

There are scores, if not hundreds of variables at play on the modern battlefield – but there is only one essential element: only one. You can still lose if you have it, but without it you simply do not have a chance. And that one variable is not just air superiority – the ability to fight and win in the skies over the battlespace – but air supremacy: you must own the skies.

With air supremacy comes reconnaissance. With air supremacy comes air strikes. With air supremacy comes the ability to locate, and destroy, enemy armor, ships, convoys and troop concentrations. Air supremacy is a force multiplier: AWACS command and control aircraft can vector inbound strike packages fluidly and flexibly, hitting targets of opportunity as they appear.

Without air supremacy, you formerly could not move in daylight. Now, you cannot move at all. Without air supremacy your troop concentrations and movements are known to the enemy, while you remain blind to theirs. Without air supremacy you cannot protect assets. Any concentration of forces large enough to do serious damage is detected, located, identified and destroyed before it can get into effective range.

This is true over land and it is true at sea. If you are fighting a conventional war and you do not own the skies, you are going to lose.

If you do not have air supremacy, and you don’t want to lose, then you must not fight a conventional war.

Interesting and compelling read. We need to start fighting an unconventional war, not only against the progressives, but also the progressive-lite Vichy Republicans who think that moving down that path just a tiny bit slower is the right course.

Obamacare is just one battlefield…and our lack of air superiority / supremacy is hampering our efforts to get the message out on just how bad this EpicClusterFarkNado is beyond the ‘technical glitches’.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

So did the person talking on the phone with the reporter from CNN get fired, or only the person that spoke with Hannity?

talkingpoints on October 26, 2013 at 3:57 PM

The website will never work, when it has to verify info with numerous other fed computers. They just don’t interface well, being substandard to begin with. That always held back computer systems on the state level where I worked.

I think the “navigators” from Acorn will have to check manually the other systems to get an answer — or just skip the verification completely, which sounds like an Obama solution, the more I think about it.

PattyJ on October 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

WHY CAN”T AMERICANS JUST CALL THE INSURER OR THEIR INSURANCE ANGENT TO BUY A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN NOW?

There should be no need to provide all of this health data to the government. The government is simply an unnecessary middle man between you and your insurer.

If people want to apply for a subsidy, they should be able to do that directly with the IRS on their tax forms.

Insurance companies can market their plans on their own websites as they have been doing for years.

There should be no need for this $600 Million Federal Obamacare website. (Other than to give the Obama Administration an excuse to collect your private information.)

wren on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

If you are buying your own insurance, and don’t qualify for subsidies because of income, I believe you can work directly with the insurer.

If you are buying your own insurance, and you DO qualify for subsidies you MUST work through healthcare.gov. You then have two choices, front each monthly payment without subsidies and get them at the end of the year ($$$!), or get the feds to make monthly payments of the subsidies to the insurer.

I believe that if you want subsidies, you cannot work directly with the insurer. If anyone thinks otherwise, please comment.

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 4:42 PM

If you do not have air supremacy, and you don’t want to lose, then you must not fight a conventional war.

Interesting and compelling read. We need to start fighting an unconventional war, not only against the progressives, but also the progressive-lite Vichy Republicans who think that moving down that path just a tiny bit slower is the right course.

Obamacare is just one battlefield…and our lack of air superiority / supremacy is hampering our efforts to get the message out on just how bad this EpicClusterFarkNado is beyond the ‘technical glitches’.

Athos on October 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

The ROE for the war we must fight have already been written, by Saul Alinsky. Unfortunately too many conservatives think we are too good to use Alinsky tactics.

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Here’s a thought.

Tell Jugears that the ACA needs to be aborted.

He won’t be able to resist.

BobMbx on October 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

BS. End of November. That’s what we were told. And so shall it be. Because, Ob•a•ma.

BKeyser on October 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

$600million wasted on this Ponzi Reparation scheme! If the US has roughly 300 million men, women, and children..the..we could give every man, woman, and child a $2million dollar medical saving account to be used only for medical expenses..then save billions more by eliminating Obama care completely! Am I wrong here? What are these fools trying to do? Destroy everything they touch??!!

Marco on October 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Several computer engineers said it would likely be easier to rebuild Healthcare.gov than to fix the issues in the current system.

So do we get our $600 million back?

I know this is a redundant question with the Obozo regime, but shouldn’t someone go to jail over this?

texgal on October 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

I say meet them halfway. Blow it up, and then replace it with real market-based reforms that gets government out of the way.

More very very wishful thinking.

Sherman1864 on October 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

So did the person talking on the phone with the reporter from CNN get fired, or only the person that spoke with Hannity?

talkingpoints on October 26, 2013 at 3:57 PM

…to be continued….

KOOLAID2 on October 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Get the terrorists to start chattering about it on the internet, then obozo the coward will close it down himself.

Flange on October 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM

The Obama Administration said that ObamaCare is more than just a website and that they encourage people to sign up by phone. Now that we see that applying by phone doesn’t work either, the Obama Administration will say that ObamaCare is just more than a Call Center.

ObamaCare is truly a train wreck.

Conservative Samizdat on October 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

…can I call Mooch Obama?

KOOLAID2 on October 26, 2013 at 5:36 PM

$600million wasted on this Ponzi Reparation scheme! If the US has roughly 300 million men, women, and children..the..we could give every man, woman, and child a $2million dollar medical saving account to be used only for medical expenses..then save billions more by eliminating Obama care completely! Am I wrong here?

Marco

Yes. That’s $600 million divided by 300 million people is on $2 not $2 million. While not a lot of money per person…with $17 trillion in debt…not a good use of money.

seven_of_8 on October 26, 2013 at 5:44 PM

HotAir needs to post this anti-Obamacare video!!

It’s great. Targeting young people:

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/fQvfwW5zflY

From the people who gave us the memorable creepy Uncle Sam ads: http://www.optout.org

bluegill on October 26, 2013 at 6:54 PM

“You have to agree to purchase the health insurance before you can find out what you bought.”

Colony14 on October 26, 2013 at 6:56 PM

My state web site now lets me see a range of prices, but it does NOT tell me what is in each plan nor what the deductibles are, nor if I can keep my doctor and hospital. NOT much help in comparison shopping, now is it?

Dhuka on October 26, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Here’s a thought.

Tell Jugears that the ACA needs to be aborted.

He won’t be able to resist.

BobMbx on October 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

AMERICANS RIGHT TO CHOOSE !

Oh, that doesn’t work for anyone NOT on the left.
Nvmd.

pambi on October 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM

“Justin”

Ah, “Justin” is in the witness protection program of the Howie Carr Show, obviously, he wants to keep his job, but is letting us know it is not up and working.

The young lady from Panama City who “had to be let go” for talking to someone from the media said that the system was down for forty two hours more, at least. They are taking paper applications for no good reason, you can’t put in your password that way they can just pretend you are a potential customer.

The don’t have the money or the numbers figured out for this project, they never ran a model for the costs, they just lied to the GAO.

Fleuries on October 26, 2013 at 8:02 PM

I say meet them halfway. Blow it up, and then replace it with real market-based reforms that gets government out of the way.

Have you guys been watching old pee wee Herman flicks?

smoothsailing on October 26, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Plus: Time to blow it up and start over?

Uh, no, not really. Time to blow this mother up and end this monstrosity/ripoff of the American people.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 26, 2013 at 11:56 PM

Just blow it up, force the insurance companies to produce reasonable rates while preventing them from making billions on health insurance, and regulate the medical community to stop gouging the public. Yeah, I know, in my dreams.

HiJack on October 27, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Just blow it up, force the insurance companies to produce reasonable rates while preventing them from making billions on health insurance, and regulate the medical community to stop gouging the public. Yeah, I know, in my dreams.

HiJack on October 27, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Liberal myths. The rate of profit in the health insurance business is very modest compared to other industries, and in fact many of them are set up as non-profit companies.

slickwillie2001 on October 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM

It is very interesting that you can watch television and see a variety of ads for car insurance from Geico, Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, etc each competing for insurance business.

Yet somehow the health insurance market needs a massive government intervention. This could all be solved by simply letting health insurance be sold across state lines in a free market.

mrveritas on October 27, 2013 at 11:46 AM

And how can you call the website pricing “competition” when Obama mandates every policy be exactly the same?!

It’s doublespeak!

PattyJ on October 27, 2013 at 6:32 PM

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