5 Reasons Healthcare.Gov Is Bad

The "Obamacare" experience has been less than advertised so far for many US citizens looking for health insurance. The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have been quiet about the actual rates of enrollment over the last two weeks, but clearly the real figures can't be good, or else we would have been told the great news. We found some interesting data today that might reveal just how awful the signup process has been and also verify why searching for health insurance on the official website may not be the best course of action to solve your needs in your health insurance search. Through October 5th more than 9 million people rushed to the health insurance market website and more than half of those tried to select the option to look at the individual market options.  Here is a graphic that details the user statistics from Healthcare.gov.

This graphic shows the user enrollment and registration totals for week 1 of Healthcare.gov.

Data by - MillwardBrownDigital

Once the shoppers found the link to examine the individual market they were prompted to enter in their private information BEFORE they could view prices. Only 1 million of the 9.5 million took the challenge and created usernames and passwords and share information about themselves. Unfortunately, only 25% of those completed that initial registration process! Once the registration process was completed, only 196,000 actually took the bold step to begin the enrollment steps for a specific plan. Ultimately, only a handful, some 36,000 were able to get it done. The results show just how poorly constructed the process is and how clogged it is with steps that make access to information very difficult.

Some readers may view our points and believe that this post is simply a sales pitch as why you should use Texas Health Design, and of course, there may be some truth, but also we want to highlight that the entire process is actually rigged against the consumer that is looking to get clear answers and easy access to information. Our desire for our clients and all purchasers of insurance is to know with absolute clarity, what they are buying and knowing what the insurance company will do in specific situations. The following 5 reasons highlight exactly what we've seen in this complicated and wasteful process called Open Enrollment.

1# - Share Everything About Yourself, Even Before You See Prices Or Buy!

In the earliest days of the website, the Healthcare government website looked pretty nice and easy, but the real trouble with the system was that it forced shoppers to enter all their personal information before they could see prices. Many of the problems related to bottlenecks and error messages have been linked to the fact that the leadership of the program did not want people to see the full cost of the health plans and wanted to present only subsidized prices to recipients. Clearly the architectural design that made people jump through hoops to see what they might get has created a nightmare scenario.

In our personal experience, close to 70% of online shoppers never really are serious about buying. They want to obtain price quotes and are disappointed, not serious, or go on to purchase elsewhere. Clearly many of the initial 9 million visitors really just wanted to check out prices. I'd suggest that on the .gov website more than 90% of the searchers weren't going to buy right away even if there were no system bugs that prevented them from moving forward. Rumors of great deals and shockingly high prices probably increased traffic from folks just curious to see what all the fuss was about.

SOLUTION - Simply contact Texas Health Design and we'll be happy to provide you a quote that compares several companies and many plans.

#2 - Good Luck Finding Real Prices!

Finding prices of plans on the healthcare site is hard! Two days ago we heard that the government decided to drop the price gate-keeping process and allow consumers to get access to the plans. Even though they have now added the functionality to look at prices, it is hard to find it! The site continues to try to steer you to give them your personal information prior to letting you figure out what you are going to pay.

SOLUTION - We can help in several ways. First, we are prepared to give you quotes that are helpful and give great detailed information. We will send them to you in a PDF format that makes shopping and comparing easy. No, not the way you find on other sites including the healthcare.gov site, where you see prices and names, no our format gives you plan details and prices all on the same page so you can easily make distinctions between offerings. To get a full slate of quotes simply click Contact Us and we'll follow-up to grab a few details about your family (date of birth and zip code, etc) and we'll send you the information right way!

Second, we are here to help you understand the details of the plan quotes we send. You are not all alone and we are here to serve you in the search process.

#3 - What Do I Get For My Premium?

We took some time and played around with the Healthcare.gov website and found it to be quite hard to get real information. Let's compare the information provided in these screenshots.

This is a screen shot from the Healthcare.gov website providing very limited information.

Yep, pretty typical, lots of prices, not a lot of detail. If you try clicking on the plans for detailed information on covered services, co-insurance amounts, and prescription drug coverage, you get... nothing as there is no functionality to dig deeper just to view plans.

Here's a screenshot of the information Texas Health Design provides to our clients everyday. This is a cutout of one of our pages so you have a real idea of the value we bring to the purchasing process.

Texas Health Design customers can get a detailed comparison of plans to be able to make better, more informed decisions about their health care choices.

We find that our clients really do feel that our summary of available plans provides much more detail and allows for great comparison.

#4 - Try Getting A Specific Plan Question Answered About A Company Plan Offering By A Government Employee In Another State!

The feedback people continually give us about our service is that we have answers, we want them to balance their health plan usage with their budget, we have the heart to educate, and most of all, we want the best deal for our clients. Do you think the healthcare.gov guy knows anything about a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that covers a guy in Elgin, Texas? Does he know that Cigna won't allow you to use Walgreens next year? Will he give you his phone number and extension to call him back and ask follow-up questions? My guess is that the guy you call to help you sign up on the government website knows just about nothing about the specific health plans for an individual state and he frankly doesn't care about you as he'll never hear from you again. Why work with a faceless government entity that doesn't have a vested interest in your long-term satisfaction? Connect with us today and we'll work to keep our relationship with you for years to come! CONTACT US!

#5 - Who Will Be Here To Answer Your Questions In August Of 2014?

Will healthcare.gov and all the "navigators" be around next summer when you need to ask a quick question or get a copy of a member ID card? You know they are all temporary workers that will be collecting census data or working for the IRS in the spring! Sure, you can call the 800# for the insurance company. We hear that our clients would rather email or call us to get their questions answered in a timely fashion. When you use Texas Health Design you get answers to your questions, quick responses and call backs, and on-going world-class client service. We want you as our client for years and years!

Sales job or not, I think we've highlighted the truth. The main healthcare website is simply a central place to sign up for coverage. Alternatively, there are lots of options to actually sign up for coverage when you finally decide to purchase. You can sign up on the website for the specific insurance carrier's plan you want to buy or even sign up directly from our direct links in our website for each insurance company. The healthcare.gov site isn't a place to get good answers, discern details about plans and companies, and certainly isn't a good place to ask follow-up questions. We want to make this a great experience for you and your family and we look forward to serving you in this challenging time. Let us help you find the best health insurance for your family!

Jason W Bohmann
Texas Health Design