This cartoon by Rich Ramirez pretty much sums up my experience today trying to sign up for a plan in the Indiana Health Insurance Market Place yesterday. Anybody not downing Administration Kool-Aid like a group of college students slamming down Red Bull in advance of mid-terms knew the Federal Health Insurance Market Places were not ready for launch. But the Administration pulled the trigger anyway.
Here was my experience in a nutshell:
9:00 a.m. – Healthcare.gov site experiencing too much traffic – check back later
9:30 a.m – Healthcare.gov site has crashed
9:31 a.m. – Call 800 number. Due to high volume of calls advised of 27 minute wait; abandoned at 35 minutes
Noon – Healthcare.gov site is up! Enter contact info, log-in name and password; screen rolls to security screen and stops
12:30 p.m. – Healthcare.gov site still won’t show security questions; refresh screen and receive message that site is experiencing too much traffic – check back later
12:31 p.m. – Call 800 number. Due to high volume of calls advised of 35 minute wait. Hang up.
1: 30 p.m. – Healthcare.gov site is receiving traffic. Reload info, roll to security screen which won’t load questions.
2:15 p.m. – Refresh Healthcare.gov site; receive message system has crashed.
2:16 p.m. – Call 800 number. Due to high call volume advised wait will be 28 minutes. Hang up
4:30 p.m. – Healthcare.gov site is experiencing too much traffic – check back later
5:00 p.m – Healthcare.gov site is receiving traffic. Re-enter data, roll to security screen…and stops
5:30 p.m. – Reload Healthcare.gov site. Site is experiencing too much traffic – check back later
5:35 p.m – Call 800 number. Due to high call volume advised wait will be 25 minutes. Hang up
This does not inspire confidence.
A private company’s abject failure on a product launch of this magnitude would see its stock cratering before the market close, its CEO and top officers on their way out the door, and the relevant state AG preparing charges. But in DC this is just a “glitch.” At least the Blackberry handsets could still take and make calls and search the web when their email crashed for the better part of two days. RIM is toast and HHS is still going strong and THAT tells you all you need to know.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Administration clearly forgot that age-old lesson.