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Something is definitely going on at Covered California. It appears the surge in last minute applications has them overwhelmed.

  1. They extended the payment deadline from January 6th to January 15th. This wasn't to alleviate any financial burden for consumers. This was because so many had not been billed in time to meet the Jan 6th deadline.
  2. Callers to the site's 1-800-300-1506 helpline are being shunted. In other words an automated message tells callers to go to the website, says "Goodbye" and hangs up on them. I experienced this first hand today.
  3. There are still applications that have not even gotten to the insurers. Covered California said that all online applications have been sent but I called my insurer today and I'm not anywhere in their system.
  4. The new fallback position is to tell people they can visit their healthcare provider without insurance cards and file the claim after the applications gets fully processed.

I guess it will all work out in the end. I just want to be enrolled, pay for it and stop worrying about it. I'm not sure whether I should try to act or just wait it out. Since the only avenue to inquire I have left is programmed to automatically hang up on me, I guess that answers that.

Any other experiences or advice with Covered California? Please share.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    by shaggies2009 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:24:46 PM PST

  •  I have a young person in my household (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaggies2009, divineorder, VClib

    who should be eligible for Medical but has gone weeks without hearing anything.  So, yes, overwhelmed (I hope temporarily)!

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:46:06 PM PST

    •  I just remembered that back in October (?) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaggies2009, divineorder

      I went to an event sponsored by our local state Congresscritters about Obamacare.  There were two panelists from the counties who were bragging about their short waiting times for calls.  But what happens once it goes to the insurance companies... OY!

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:50:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The insurers are overwhelmed. (17+ / 0-)

    Enrolled on 12/4. Called Blue Shield 12/11. They had our info. Mailed check 12/14. Still has not been cashed as of 1/6. Scheduled EFT payment for 1/1. Had to call again - eft went through on 1/3. I have no cards. I have called and called and get hung up on at Blue Shield. I am done calling. Just going to wait it out. We shall see if LabCorp takes what I have for blood tests tomorrow.

    It's a fucking mess on the insurers side right now. IMHO they should have seen this tsunami coming. And for those folks that say the private sector does better than gov't - I don't think so.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:46:27 PM PST

    •  I don't know why (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, divineorder, Tonedevil, petral

      but Aetna/BC has been sending me stuff since last spring. I got a card from them several years ago, with no information on why I was covered or for what - so I suspect they've been screwed up for years and have been able to cover it until now.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:58:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's really what I'm trying to confirm right now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Pat K California

      is where is the application? Is it still with Covered CA or is it with the insurer. I got on the phone with the insurer today and they tried several different searches but could not find me in their system. It's possible the data was sent by Covered CA but not yet processed by the insurer.

      The only way to know that was to check with Covered CA. There's no way to check that without calling them. But they automatically hang up on you. Hope this improves in the next day or so. Time is a tickin'!

      "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

      by shaggies2009 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:26:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Same thing happened to my SO with Blue Shield (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaggies2009, Pat K California

      Signed up on Covered California in November. Still no record of her Covered California application at Blue Shield. This is someone who is a healthcare IT consultant and knows where to push the buttons. It's sad.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 09:19:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, let's just say no fat lady singing in Ca yet! (6+ / 0-)

    Happened to me just like you describe. The insurer (Kaiser Permanente) member services staff said they never received my mid-Dec completed enrollment (and that they're deluged with people calling with same problem). I went to review my case in CoveredCa and it was changed from completed to approved but not completed. I re-completed it and will continue to baby sit it until that bill comes.  

    •  Mine is just stuck at "Pending" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pending what? I have no idea. No action is requested and the status bar with the check boxes are all filled in through Enrollment. I filled it out on 12/23. It says coverage begins 1/1/2014. My hope is that I'll be able to put the payment in by 1/15. But there has to be an account to pay it to first.

      "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

      by shaggies2009 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:20:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I re-applied for a subsized version of (8+ / 0-)

    my existing individual-subscriber health insurance policy. It told me I would qualify for a large subsidy, based on my income. I was thrilled. This was mid-December or so. Late in the month, I attempted to log back in to check the status of my application. I was shut out for the "wrong username or password," but not given any way to confirm or update those. I was also cut-off, twice, after attempting to get through on their "online chat," after waiting 45 minutes or so each time. And don't even get me started on my experience trying to get through by phone. Since we had until March to apply, I decided to cool my heels, figuring the worst that could happen is that I'd have to pay the full premium for a while more, before the subsidy could be applied.

    Resigned to that, I was very pleased when an envelope from my health insurer arrived this month, telling me they had "received the paperwork" for my subsidy application, but to "finish processing it," they needed for me to pay my out-of-pocket share of the January premium. I did that online, according to their instructions. On Tuesday, my payment cleared. So I assume I have successfully enrolled for subsidized health insurance, and will be billed for the much-lower rate in future months.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:03:32 PM PST

  •  It Sure Is a Mess. (5+ / 0-)

    I submitted my application on the Covered CA site on November 25th. Finally, on December 17th, I received an invoice from Anthem Blue Cross. "Hooray!" I thought. I immediately went to the website they told me to go to and paid the first month premium with a credit card. "No worries!" I thought.

    Then I went away for a week. When I got back, I found that Anthem had sent me ANOTHER request for payment. So I checked my credit card statement on Dec. 29th: nothing from Anthem at all. So I called Anthem. After 45 minutes on hold I was told that the payment would be processed on January 1st. Right. Here it is January 8th and still no payment has been processed. And no insurance card has yet been issued.

    Then Covered CA sent me a notice stating that there might be a problem with my application because of the way I filled out the financial portion and would I call them immediately. Mind you, there is no way I qualify for any subsidy, so this was more than a bit irritating. For a solid week I tried to get hold of them. But I could NOT get through ... not by phone, not by chat, not by e-mail. I finally succeeded last night after a 50 minute hold. And was told "don't worry about it".

    So I, too, am in limbo with no card and no payment on record. And the scuttlebutt I'm hearing is that the whole system, both Covered CA and the insurers are JAMMED. A friend of mine actually sent his check to Anthem on Nov. 1st ... and it still isn't processed!!! Another friend tried to take the on-line test to become a certified enrollment councilor ... and gave up after she passed the test TWICE only to have the system freeze up on her before her certification was finalized ... a 3 hour waste of time.

    Yes, eventually I'm sure things will iron themselves out. But the planning for this rollout on the part of the government AND the insurers has sure sucked.

    "Long term: first the rich get mean, then the poor get mean, and the rest is history." My brother Rob.

    by Pat K California on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:34:39 PM PST

  •  It's not just Covered CA (6+ / 0-)

    The California insurers are screwing up. Especially Anthem, which has hours-long waiting times.

    •  My insurer (Health Net) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ruscle, Pat K California

      was telling me 161 minute wait time this past Friday. I demurred. They did open phone lines on Saturday and Sunday which I guess is not their normal practice. Today, I got right through to them. But then I had to call Covered CA and that is where progress halted.

      "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

      by shaggies2009 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 09:20:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I applied in October (3+ / 0-)

      Over 9 hours of phone calls numerous times since then to get my application recognized -- pretty evenly split between Covered Ca and Anthem -- and I had to see a doctor today.  Then I saw the pharmacy.  They both told me they have heard the horror stories of hours spent on the phone.  So I know I am not alone.    

      I have submitted payment on the Anthem website.  That payment has still not appeared in my bank statement.  

      Tomorrow I will be calling them again.  

      I need that damn insurance card!

      Anthem is a HUGE problem.  

  •  I've had to call them many times to get everything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaggies2009, Pat K California

    straight. After the 15th, it was almost impossible to get through. After having to re-log into the chat window several times, I finally reached a person who put me through to somebody who, I think, cleared up my problem for the time being. I still have to hear from Blue Shield about my adjusted registration, so I'm hoping I don't get sick for at least a couple of weeks.

  •  Covered with Kaiser (5+ / 0-)

    It all went through very quickly, and we have our covered CA Kaiser cards

  •  insurers are getting hammered and can't keep up (4+ / 0-)

    with the volume. they're sorely understaffed on a good day, but their "make the phone tree byzantine and customers will just give up" strategy isn't working for this.  it took me two days just to get through to blue shield to cancel my policy, and that is without any coveredCA involvement, just a simple call.

    for all the shit that the feds got for not having their programming and databases perfectly scaled up to handle the flood of calls, the insurance corps are way less prepared.

    i cannot wait for single payer, just to rid myself of these parasites.

  •  I'm not surprised at these problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The latest published data showed 428,000 enrollments at CoveredCA up to Dec. 23. The actual number is even larger now. The insurance companies have never had to deal with such large enrollment numbers in their histories, and did not seriously plan for what is needed. California takes some share of the blame, too. Medicaid expansion in Medical is going much better.

    A group of Kossacks led by brainwrap has gathered the Obamacare data on a Web page, ACA Signups, with a spreadsheet of state-by-state numbers, to the extent that they are made available, plus a graph of signups on the exchanges, Medicaid+SCHIP, and people under 26 years old now on their parents' insurance. Also a page of links to stories in various media referencing our numbers.

    We have to hope that states get on the stick about this, because the enrollment rate will increase even more before the real deadline in March.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 10:40:42 PM PST

    •  I've seen brainwrap's ACA Signup diaries (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pat K California

      and I too am very impressed with that effort.

      It's scary to think that the enrollment rate will increase. Something had better be done because we're approaching, if not already in, major fail territory.

      "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

      by shaggies2009 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 11:49:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm getting the same from (3+ / 0-)

    BC Anthem phones. I called to check on my app. I wish they'd hang up on me right away. I have to do a 2 minute menu first.
    Not in CA though.

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:03:27 AM PST

  •  I've gotten nowhere... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First went to the site a couple of days after it was up, and very little was available to view. Since I'm already on Medicare and SS, I should theoretically be eligible for subsidies costs for Part B coverage.

    Tried again late November, and after inputting all the required data, was told that yes, I should get subsidized costs, but when I went to look at plans they were all priced way higher than I could afford and no subsidies were showing. At that point, I was taken to a screen saying that my information would be forwarded to the appropriate agency, which would contact me directly.

    A few days before xmas, I tried again to get info from the site but it was so overwhelmed that I gave up after 45 minutes.

    I have tried site chat, phoning and also sent email, but have yet to get any response.

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